Daily Mail

Khashoggi feared for life ‘af­ter 400 mes­sages were hacked’

- Mail For­eign Ser­vice Crime · Middle East News · Politics · Information Security · Mohammad bin Salman · Saudi Arabia · Istanbul · Turkey · Spyware · Salman of Saudi Arabia · NSO Group

JA­MAL Khashoggi feared for his life af­ter Saudi of­fi­cials ob­tained hacked mes­sages in which he planned an up­ris­ing against the regime.

In court doc­u­ments filed yes­ter­day, a fel­low dis­si­dent and friend of the mur­dered jour­nal­ist claims the work of an Is­raeli spy­ware com­pany led to his death.

In the 400 What­sApp mes­sages which were al­legedly hacked, the pair had planned to launch an on­line youth move­ment that could hold the state to ac­count, Omar Ab­du­laziz said.

They in­tended to dis­trib­ute for­eign Sim cards so dis­si­dents could crit­i­cise the regime on so­cial me­dia with­out fear of reprisals. When he dis­cov­ered his plans had been leaked, Mr Khashoggi told Mr Ab­du­laziz: ‘God help us.’

The mes­sages also de­scribed the coun­try’s de facto ruler Prince Mo­ham­mad bin Sal­man as a ‘beast’ and ‘Pac-Man’ who would de­vour any­thing in his path.

In another mes­sage, Mr Khashoggi, 59, told of how the coun­try’s ruler loved ‘force’ and ‘op­pres­sion’. Such crit­i­cism could be con­sid­ered trea­son in Saudi Ara­bia and pun­ish­able with death.

Months later, on Oc­to­ber 2, Mr Khashoggi was mur­dered by a hit squad at the Saudi con­sulate in Is­tan­bul, Tur­key.

Mr Ab­du­laziz be­lieves the hack played a ‘cru­cial’ role in his death. He is su­ing the spy­ware firm, NSO Group, for dam­ages. NSO said the law­suit was ‘com­pletely un­founded’ and there was ‘no ev­i­dence’ its tech­nol­ogy was used.

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