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After espionage scandal… smuggling weapons accusations pursue Saudi in US

The US Department of Justice has charged three Saudis: Hatem Hameed al-Sufiani, 36, Musab al-Zahrani, 27, and Abdul Wahab Mohammed Abdul Wahab, 30, for “conspiracy and exporting unlicensed weapons parts.”

The Saudis face charges of smuggling arms spare parts from America to the Kingdom while they are in the United States on student visas.

According to US media that the value of the components of weapons bought and smuggled by the three Saudis, amounted to $ 100,000, and they are now in the Kingdom.

Al-Zahrani and Sufiani are accused of smuggling components between 2014 and 2018 as “car parts” and “curtain rods” sent to the Kingdom.

Sufiani faces up to 65 years in prison, Zahrani could be 25 years in prison, Abdelwahab could be sentenced to 10 years for each separate charge of smuggling, and another 20 years for each individual violation of the US Arms Export Control Act.

On November 7, 2019, the FBI website reported some details of Saudi citizens Ahmed al-Mutairi and Ali al-Zubara, as well as the publication of their photos.

The Saudi regime has spied on thousands of Twitter accounts in an international scandal that is being circulated in the US District Court in San Francisco.

The Washington Post said the espionage scandal was linked to figures close to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, including Badr al-Asaker.

The newspaper said the US Justice Department accused two former employees of Twitter, spying for Saudi Arabia on the accounts of critics of its policies.

The charges came a day after the arrest of the American citizen Ahmed Abu Amo, a former employee in Twitter, the first defendant. The second defendant, a Saudi national named Ali al-Zubara, was charged with accessing personal information to more than 6,000 Twitter accounts in 2015.

The Ministry of Justice said the defendants worked together for the Saudi government and the royal family to reveal the identities of opposition account holders on Twitter.

Among the accounts targeted was the account of Saudi dissident Omar Abdel Aziz, who was close to the late Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Prosecutors said a second Saudi national, Ahmed al-Mutairi, was a mediator between Saudi officials and Twitter employees.

“The criminal complaint he unveiled today accuses Saudis of tampering with Twitter’s internal regulations in order to obtain personal information about Saudi dissidents and thousands of platform users,” US Attorney General David Anderson said.

“US laws protect American companies from such illegal penetration,” he said in a statement. “We will not allow US companies or technology to be used as a tool for external repression and violations of US laws.”

The three men are accused of working with a Saudi official who is leading the Mohammed bin Salman charity organization, and that Ali al-Zubara and Ahmed al-Mutairi are believed to be in the kingdom.

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