A Saudi dissident residing in Canada says he believes the individuals who ordered the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi have been additionally after him.
“Actually, they got here for me first,” he says.
Omar Abdulaziz says Saudi operatives visited Montreal in Might in an effort to lure him again to the Kingdom.
This spring, two representatives of the Saudi authorities visited Montreal to fulfill Abdulaziz. One in all his brothers was introduced alongside as effectively to use strain. Abdulaziz says his brother was paid to make the journey.
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The three had a number of conferences with Abdulaziz, claiming that they had been despatched by the crown prince, Mohammed Bin Salman, to persuade him to return. He says there have been no threats, however for the reason that demise of Khashoggi within the Saudi embassy in Turkey, he’s been left questioning about an invite the lads made. They wished him to get a brand new passport.
“They requested me to go to the Saudi embassy in Ottawa,” he says. “I mentioned, ‘OK,’ after which I refused. I didn’t suppose they have been going to do one thing silly right here in Canada, however after what occurred to Jamal, I’m not going to even cross the road.”
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A vocal critic of the Saudi regime, Abdulaziz has greater than 300,000 followers on Twitter. He says proper now he’s spending about 15 hours a day on-line.
The 27-year-old got here to Canada in 2009 to check English at McGill College. His scholarship from the Saudi authorities was pulled over on-line criticism of the nation’s management.
Abdulaziz was granted everlasting residency standing in Canada in 2014. He’s now learning at Bishop’s College in Lennoxville, Que.
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During the last a number of months, Abdulaziz and Khashoggi struck up a friendship. The 2 dissidents have been working collectively on a number of tasks, together with one to assist activists inside Saudi Arabia disguise their identities on-line.
Abdulaziz says Khashoggi has misplaced his voice, however his is louder than ever.
“I’m actually sorry it occurred due to the demise of my good friend,” he says. “What occurred to Jamal, belief me, didn’t scare me, however made me stronger and in addition keen to alter the scenario increasingly more.”
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Since refusing to return house to Saudi Arabia, Abdulaziz says the federal government has gone after his household and buddies. This summer season, two of his brothers and eight buddies have been arrested.
Abdulaziz says none of these arrested have been concerned in politics. Their solely crime was that they knew him.
“They couldn’t do something to harm me, to cease me, however now they’ve my buddies and my relations,” he says. “It’s simply loopy, but it surely’s what occurred.”
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The demise of Khashoggi, Abdulaziz says, has backfired. He says as a result of the operation has been uncovered, the Saudi management and the crown prince are dealing with criticism from all over the world.
Mohammed Bin Salman, he says, sells himself as a reformer, however acts like Saddam Hussein or Muammar Gaddafi.
“You can’t be like First World nations when you act like a dictator from the Third World,” he says. “We’re going to maintain combating. We’re going to inform our folks that we deserve a greater life, and issues are going to alter quickly.”
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