Mohammed al Khilewi

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Mohammed Abdalla al-Khilewi is a former Saudi Arabian diplomat and a millionire noted for his May 1994 defection in which he issued a declaration on embassy letterhead proclaiming King Fahd to be "despotic" and calling for a redistribution of the country's wealth and power.

Background[edit]

Born in 1961 in Saudi Arabia, al-Khilewi studied politics at King Saud University and at the Institute for Diplomatic Studies, both in Riyadh. He joined the Saudi foreign service in 1985 and rose rapidly in its ranks, becoming its First Secretary to the United Nations Mission in New York City in 1992.[1]

1994 defection[edit]

Al-Khilewi defected in May 1994, bringing with him 14,000 internal government documents depicting the Saudi royal family’s corruption, human-rights abuses, and financial support for Islamic militants, according to his lawyer, Michael J. Wildes.[2] In particular, he claimed to have evidence that the Saudis had given financial and technical support to Hamas, a Palestinian Islamic terrorist organization. There was a meeting at the lawyer's office with two F.B.I. agents and an Assistant United States Attorney. "We gave them a sampling of the documents and put them on the table," Wildes told journalist Seymour Hersh, "but the agents refused to accept them." He and his client heard nothing further from federal authorities. Al-Khilewi also provided copies of cable traffic revealing that the Saudi Mission had conducted surveillance on two New York-based activist groups, the Jewish Defense League and the Jewish Defense Organization, and headquarters of having installed surveillance equipment "in their place.",[3] and according to Greg Palast, detailed information describing "the $7 billion the Saudis gave to [Iraq leader] Saddam Hussein for his nuclear program—the first attempt to build an Islamic Bomb." However, FBI agents are "ordered not to accept evidence of Saudi criminal activity, even on US soil." [4]

Al-Khilewi later sought asylum, citing threats from the Saudi royal family;[5][6] reportedly, Salman bin Abdulaziz, the powerful Governor of Riyadh, summoned members of his family and threatened them, saying "Tell your relative we can get him in the United States, we can get him even if he goes to the moon."[3] His request was granted in August, 1994, and he has since been living under cover in the New York City area.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Mohammed Al Khilewi: "Saudi Arabia Is Trying to Kill Me"". Middle East Quarterly. September 1998. 
  2. ^ Seymour M. Hersh (October 22, 2001). "King's Ransom: How vulnerable are the Saudi royals?". The New Yorker. 
  3. ^ a b The Sunday Times, June 12, 1994
  4. ^ Greg Palast, 2002, pp. 101
  5. ^ U.S. Department of State (February 1995). "Saudi Arabia and Human Rights Practices, 1994". 
  6. ^ "Kidnap Team Stalks Ex-U.N. Envoy: Saudi Diplomat is Terror Target", The New York Post, Aug. 1, 1994

External links[edit]