Saudi Arab

Saudi Princess, Arrested Fearing her Assistance in Ben Salman Khashoggi’s Murder

The Business Insider website revealed, on Sunday, that Mohammed bin Salman ordered the arrest of Princess Basma Bint Saud Al Saud, following fears of her desire to provide assistance to Turkey in the investigation of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The website quoted people close to the family of Princess Basmah, the daughter of brother King Salman, on condition of anonymity, that the princess’s decision to travel to Geneva, but via Istanbul, in December 2018, was a warning sign to the Saudi authorities.

“Some of her relatives doubted the matter would have anything to do with Turkey,” Leonard Bennett, the princess’s lawyer based in the United States, told the website. “The royal family may have feared what Basmah could do in Turkey, given her history of defending rights and freedoms,” Bennett added. “We received a number of mysterious calls, in which the princess indicated that she could not leave, and she could not tell where she was, but she said that there were people who were there,” Bennett explained.

The lawyer explained that Princess Basma returned to Saudi Arabia for the first time in decades in 2017. The arrest of her son and the death of her husband were the motive behind returning home, according to the lawyer. Her son Saud was among the dozens of royal family members arrested and accused of corruption in one of the cleansing campaigns launched by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in 2017.

Even in 2017 when her son Saud was arrested and accused of corruption, she refused to go public, according to Bennett and Goodman. “She was told there was a meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed,” a close family member of Basmah told Insider. Instead, “they took her straight to the prison.”

“Release me as I have done no wrong. My current health status is very critical,” the first of three breathless messages read. The Princess said she was in al-Ha’ir, and appealed to Crown Prince Mohammed for mercy.

Basmah is at extreme risk from contracting the novel coronavirus, which the family says has breached al-Ha’ir. Hours after the tweets were sent, they were deleted. According to the business associate, her verified Twitter account had been hacked. The princess’ official website also went dark.

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