The RCMP has warned an exiled Saudi dissident that Saudi Arabia has made serious threats against his life.
29-year-old Omar Abdulaziz was told that he was a “potential target” of the repressive regime and asked to take measures to protect himself.
“The warning about serious threats to his life was different this time. It was formal and conveyed with a clear sense of urgency and advice to take precautions. It felt more credible and more concrete,” said Abdulaziz’s attorney Alaa Mahajna.
Abdulaziz was a close compatriot of murdered Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
“[Canada] received some information regarding my situation that I might be a potential target,” Abdulaziz told the Guardian.
“[Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman] and his group or – I don’t know – his team, they want to harm me. They want to do something, but I don’t know whether it’s assassination, kidnapping, I don’t know – but something not OK for sure.”
Abdulaziz is a popular vlogger who currently lives in Montreal. His Youtube show which frequently satirizes the Saudi government has hundreds of thousands of views and he has nearly 500,000 followers on Twitter.
Abdulaziz is not the first Saudi in exile to recently face growing threats from the Crown Prince.
According to a National Post report, the children of former Saudi intelligence operative Saad Aljabri disappeared in his home town of Riyadh. Authorities believe that the disappearance is an attempt by the Saudi government to force Aljabri to return home.
Both Aljabri’s 21-year-old son Omar and his 20-year-old daughter have been captured in what sources close to the family call a “hostage situation.”
Critics of the Trudeau government have accused the prime minister of overlooking Saudi Arabia’s human rights abuses after signing an extensive arms deal with the Middle Eastern kingdom.
In April, Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne and Finance Minister Bill Morneau defended their government’s decision to follow through on a $14-billion dollar light-armoured vehicle contract with the Saudis.
“[Cancellation] would have put the jobs of thousands of Canadians at risk, not only in southwestern Ontario but also across the entire defence industry supply chain, which includes hundreds of small and medium enterprises,” they said in a joint statement.