Lawsuit filed against Twitter, Saudi Arabia alleging acts of transnational repression: Report

The lawsuit also names several individuals allegedly working to silence critics overseas

A Saudi Arabian humanitarian aid worker has filed a racketeering lawsuit against Twitter, Saudi Arabia and a number of other individuals alleging attempts to silence critics overseas. 

The sister of the aid worker Abdulrahman al-Sadhan filed the lawsuit on his behalf in California. 

According to an Associated Press report, Abdulrahman had mocked the economy of Saudi Arabia using an anonymous Twitter account. He was arrested from Red Crescent’s office in Riyadh in 2018. 

An anti-terrorism court sentenced him to 20 years in prison in 2021 and handed him a 20-year travel ban. He has challenged the ruling.   

It is not clear how the Saudi Arabian government linked the anonymous Twitter account to Abdulrahman. 

The lawsuit against Twitter and Saudi Arabia claims that they are running a racketeering enterprise seeking to extend authoritarian control of Saudi Arabia beyond its border. 

The lawsuit also mentions the names of three individuals, Ahmad Abouammo, Ali Alzabarah and Ahmed Al-Mutairi. It also named Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission, which is accused of stalking and harrasing perceived dissidents who have criticised the Saudi government.  

Abouammo, who worked as a media partnership manager for Twitter, was convicted last year for acting as an agent for Saudi Arabia without registering with the US government.

Ali Alzabarah has been accused of accessing confidential data of users, including their location, while he was working as an engineer at Twitter. 

According to a FBI complaint, Al-Mutairi worked with a member of Saudi royal family as an intermediary.

The lawsuit claims that the members of “Saudi Criminal Enterprise” unlawfully surveilled, killed, tortured, disappeared, kidnapped, extorted and threatened perceived dissidents to silence their speech and extend its repression and control to the United States. 

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