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Missing Saudi writer deeply afraid of country's crown prince, friends say

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ISTANBUL – Friends of the disappeared Saudi writer, Jamal Khashoggi, have it described as being deeply fearful of the rulers of his country and being targeted by the mighty Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the months leading up to his demise.

The Turkish authorities claim to believe that Khashoggi, journalist and critic of Saudi politics, was . killed at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul last week, according to a complaint denied by the authorities of the kingdom of the Persian Gulf.

Barnett Rubin, Senior Research Associate at the Center for International Cooperation, New York University, met Khashoggi almost 30 years ago. his friend had thought that the Crown Prince was a threat.

"The child is dangerous," wrote Khashoggi in an email in September 2017, according to Rubin, referring to the prince. "I am under pressure from my wife and friends to be wise and to be quiet. I think I should speak with wisdom.

A prominent journalist once close to the restricted circle of the great Saudi royal family, Khashoggi exiled to the United States after Salman replaced his eldest cousin, Prince, the Prince Muhammad. bin Nayef as Crown Prince in June 2017. In the United States, Kashoggi became a contributor to the Washington Post.

Mohammed bin Salman 33-year-old son of King Salman, was at first commended international efforts to reform the economy of his oil-dependent country and modernize the deeply traditional society. The President The White House of Donald Trump took him in his arms and Saudi Arabia was the place of his first trip.

 Image: The Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman
The Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Abd Rabbo Ammar / Pool via the SIPA

The attention of the international community has focused on Arabia The widespread crackdown on dissent d & # 39; Arabia, although the prince is supposed to be popular at home.

The crackdown by the Crown Prince included death sentences for three prominent clerics – an unprecedented move – and the arrest of women's rights activists. When Canada criticized the treatment of militant women in August Saudi Arabia blamed the expulsion of the Canadian ambassador by removing his own emissary from Ottawa and others. punitive measures.

Randa Slim, director of conflict resolution at the Middle East Institute in Washington, recounted that when Khashoggi was still in Saudi Arabia, he received a call from "a close friend of Mohammed bin Salman … who basically said, "You can not tweet, you can not go on TV, you can not write – period. "

The situation has changed dramatically after the detention of some of the country's most powerful princes and businessmen in the Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh, in September 2017," he said. Slim, who had met Khashoggi for the first time in 2012. Group Discussion on the Middle East.

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