A journalist and writer in Saudi Arabia has reportedly died as a result of torture while in the custody as the regime grapples with an international crisis over the murder of prominent dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The rights group Prisoners of Conscience, which is an independent non-governmental organization seeking to promote human rights in Saudi Arabia, announced in a post on its official Twitter page that Turki bin Abdulaziz al-Jasser lost his life due to severe torture he was subjected to during criminal investigations at a prison.
Saudi authorities claimed that Jasser administered the Twitter account Kashkool or @calouche_ar, which disclosed rights violations committed by high-ranking officials and members of the royal family.
Several sources have reported that Saudi authorities discovered Jasser’s real identity after a team of the kingdom’s cyber spies infiltrated the Twitter headquarters in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, as part of the so-called Saudi online army founded by Saud al-Qahtani, the former chief adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Qahtani is said to be the architect of a social media campaign against Muslim preachers, intellectuals and critics of the Riyadh regime.
He, who was fired after being blamed for Khashoggi’s murder, posted a tweet in August 2017, saying that fake names on Twitter would not protect those behind the accounts critical of the Saudi royal family.
Khashoggi went missing after visiting the Saudi consulate in Turkey’s largest city of Istanbul on October 2.
A senior Turkish official told the Washington Post on November 2 that the slain journalist’s body was destroyed in acid on the grounds of the Saudi consulate or at the nearby residence of the Saudi consul general.
The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said biological evidence discovered in the diplomatic mission garden supports the theory that Khashoggi’s body was disposed of close to where he was killed and dismembered.