Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) has been issued a summons by a US court for a lawsuit by a former top Saudi intelligence agent who was reportedly targeted in a foiled assassination attempt.
The US District Court for the District of Columbia issued the summons on Friday, a day after Saad al-Jabri filed the lawsuit accusing Prince Mohammed of sending a hit squad to Canada to try and kill him.
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A summons is an official notice of a lawsuit, given to the person or persons being sued.
Al-Jabri, who lives in Canada, reportedly under increased protection by police and private security guards, claimed that his close ties with the US intelligence community and deep knowledge of the prince’s activities had rendered him one of the aspiring monarch’s key targets.
“Few places hold more sensitive, humiliating and damning information about Defendant bin-Salman than the mind and memory of Dr. Saad – except perhaps the recordings Dr. Saad made in anticipation of his killing,” the lawsuit read.
Saudi Arabia, which has issued Interpol red notices seeking al-Jabri’s return – which have since been dismissed by the agency as political – has urged other countries to send al-Jabri back to the kingdom, accusing the former senior intelligence officer of corruption.
The summons, which named 12 people in addition to Prince Mohammed, added: “If you fail to respond, judgment by default will be entered against you for the relief demanded in the complaint”.
The suit asserts that MBS had ordered the detention of two of al-Jabri’s children, who have gone missing from their home in the capital Riyadh in mid-March, and that other relatives have also been arrested and tortured “all in an effort to bait Dr. Saad back to Saudi Arabia to be killed”.
The claims in the lawsuit are allegations which have not been proven.
“MBS will now vigorously lobby President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to issue what is called a letter of suggestion immunity,” Bruce Fein, a former US associate deputy attorney general, told Al Jazeera.
“It is rather an odd realm of law, but it asks the court to dismiss the case because it will interfere with the foreign relations of the US and relations with a head of state or high-level officials.
“But that means November [US elections] will be critical for Saudi Arabia. I can guarantee you right now that Saudi Arabia and the crown prince are talking with Pompeo and Trump asking them get him out of this.”