A senior Saudi security official who for years was the key go-between for Britain’s MI6 and other Western spy agencies in Saudi Arabia is now being persecuted along with his family, according to former Western intelligence officials.
Dr Saad al-Jabri, who helped foil an al-Qaeda bomb plot against the West, fled into exile three years ago, ahead of a purge by the all-powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Now his children have been seized as “hostages”, according to his eldest son, Khalid.
“Omar and Sarah were kidnapped at dawn on 16 March and taken out of their beds by about 50 state security officers who arrived in 20 cars,” says their brother, Khalid al-Jabri.
The family house in Riyadh was then searched, the CCTV memory cards removed and the pair, aged 21 and 20 respectively, held incommunicado at a detention centre.
There have been no charges given and no reason offered to the family for their arrest, Khalid tells me on a phone call from Canada where he and his father live in self-imposed exile. “We don’t even know if they are alive or dead.”
He believes they are being held as bargaining chips in an attempt to force his father to return to Saudi Arabia where he fears he will face immediate arrest and imprisonment.
“They can make up any lies they want about him but he is innocent.”
The Saudi authorities have not responded to the BBC’s requests for comment on the allegations made by the family of Dr Saad al-Jabri and those who worked with him.