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Saudi friend of Khashoggi sues Israeli surveillance firm

Published:Monday | December 3, 2018 | 9:46 AM
AP photo

JERUSALEM (AP) — A Saudi dissident has filed a lawsuit against an Israeli surveillance company, claiming its sophisticated spyware targeted him and helped lead to the killing of his friend, Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The suit, filed in a Tel Aviv court on Sunday, follows others previously filed against the company. But because of its links to the international outrage over the killing of Khashoggi, it is likely to shine a larger spotlight on the company and the Israeli government, which licenses the export of the surveillance technology.

The company called the lawsuit “completely unfounded,” saying it shows “no evidence that the company’s technology was used.”

Israel’s Defense Ministry declined to comment on its export policies.

According to the lawsuit, Omar Abdulaziz, a sharp online critic of the Saudi royals and a resident of Canada where he has received asylum, said he was friends with Khashoggi and worked with him on a project meant to rein in pro-monarchy Saudi trolls.

Abdulaziz received and clicked on a link sent to his phone in June 2018 that he says exposed his mobile communications to Saudi authorities.

The lawsuit says Abdulaziz faced increased harassment by Saudi authorities after he clicked on the link, including the detention of family members in Saudi Arabia.

Abdulaziz plans to argue that his cooperation with Khashoggi was “a crucial factor” in the decision to have the U.S.-based columnist for The Washington Post killed and that there was a direct link between the surveillance carried out on Abdulaziz and the slaying.

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