The website of the Saudi government’s upcoming Future Investment Initiative conference was hacked and defaced with images of the murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Several reporters tweeted screenshots of the site after its defacement, purporting to show Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman — the kingdom’s de facto ruler — brandishing a sword. A portion of text on the site was replaced with an accusation the kingdom of “barbaric and inhuman action,” referring not only to the death of Khashoggi but also the government’s involvement in the ongoing offensive in Yemen.
Names and phone numbers of several Saudi individuals were also uploaded to the site’s homepage, including government employees and senior staff in state-backed companies.
The site was pulled offline shortly after the defacement on Monday.
Nobody has yet publicly declared responsibility for the defacement. It comes days after the Saudi regime admitted that Khashoggi was “murdered” in its consulate in Istanbul, more than two weeks after the Washington Post columnist walked in to obtain marriage license papers. Saudi officials claimed he died following a “fist fight,” which Western nations decried as nonsensical. Leaked audio, believed to have been leaked by the Turkish government, claims the journalist was beaten, killed and dismembered.
Britain, France and Germany issued a statement demanding clarity and an explanation for his still missing body. Turkey is expected to reveal more about the killing Tuesday.
The Future Investment Initiative — also known as “Davos in the Desert” after the original Switzerland-based investment conference — is set for later this week.Saudi Arabia invests billions in U.S. tech companies, but the conference has seen dozens of well-known investors, tech companies and business leaders pull out of the conference after the journalist’s murder.