Twitter Inc, Saudi Arabia sued for allegedly helping to silence critics

The suit claims the Saudis have targeted numerous dissidents since the murder of Jamal Khashoggi


Photo: Bloomberg

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By Chris Dolmetsch

Twitter Inc. and Saudi Arabia were sued by the sister of an activist who disappeared in 2018, alleging the social media network allowed the kingdom to target dissidents including her brother by allowing them to access their confidential data.

The suit claims the Saudis have targeted numerous dissidents since the murder of Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul by accessing Twitter’s confidential data with help from its own employees and supplying that data to Saudi Arabia to “retaliate against its critics, by kidnapping, torturing, imprisoning, and killing perceived dissidents.”
“Twitter — which was once the chosen platform for Arab youth revolutionizing to liberate their countries from despotic leadership during the Arab Spring — enabled its co-conspirators in the Saudi Criminal Enterprise to crush that very dissent, and then even permitted Defendant KSA to enjoy an equity stake in Defendant Twitter through its private investment funds,” Al-Sadhan’s sister said in the complaint, which was filed on Tuesday in San Francisco.

Al-Sadhan was working at his office in Riyadh on March 12, 2018, when Saudi Arabia’s secret police showed up and took him away, according to his sister, Areej al-Sadhan. His family hasn’t heard from him since 2021, when he was sentenced to 20 years in prison in Saudi Arabia.
Last year, a former Twitter employee was sentenced to more than three years in prison after being convicted of spying for Saudi Arabia.  

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First Published: May 16 2023 | 11:04 PM IST

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