Turki al-Jasser

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Turki al-Jasser, a Saudi journalist who wrote about several issues considered sensitive in Saudi Arabia, was arrested in March 2018. According to the U.K.-based Saudi human rights group Al-Qst, al-Jasser is being held in Al-Hair Prison in Riyadh.

Al-Jasser wrote about a range of topics, including the status of women under Islam, the uprising in Egypt, the plight of Palestinians, and Iran’s role in the region for the Saudi newspaper al-Taqrir and his own blog between 2013 and 2015, according to CPJ’s review. In a July 2013 post on his blog, al-Jasser wrote about the historical relationship between Saudi Arabia and the Muslim Brotherhood—a sensitive issue in the kingdom. 

Authorities suspended al-Taqrir in 2015 and in 2018 jailed its editor, Sultan al-Jumairi, who remains imprisoned, according to CPJ research.

Saudi authorities raided al-Jasser’s home in Riyadh on March 15, 2018, seized his devices, and took the journalist to an unknown location, according to Al-Qst and Human Rights Watch.

In a November 2018 article, The New Arab cited the founder of Al-Qst as saying al-Jasser was believed to have been behind an X, then Twitter, account, known as Kashkool, that documented allegations of corruption within the Saudi royal family. The New Arab reported that al-Jasser was detained after Saudi authorities connected him to the account. The account is no longer available online and CPJ was not able to verify that al-Jasser ran the account.

Saudi officials have been accused of spying on Saudi X users and journalists, including Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, who was murdered in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, in October 2018, and his friend, a Saudi dissident named Omar Abdulaziz, whom the digital rights group Citizen Lab reported was likely the victim of a Saudi government phone hacking attack.

In a separate case, The Washington Post reported on November 6, 2019 that the United States charged two former employees of Twitter, now X, with spying on Saudi users on behalf of the Saudi government at the company’s San Francisco headquarters. The company released a statement thanking the U.S. Department of Justice for its support in the investigation.

According to Al-Qst, al-Jasser has been held in Al-Hair prison outside Riyadh since February 2020, when he was allowed to make a phone call to his family. However, since then, he has been denied any further contact

As of late 2023, CPJ was unable to determine the charges al-Jasser may be facing or his health status in prison. 

In late 2023, CPJ emailed the Saudi Center for International Communication, a media ministry department in charge of public relations, requesting comment on the health and status of al-Jasser and other imprisoned journalists, but did not receive a response.