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Hackers Allegedly Alter ‘Davos in the Desert’ Site to Show Image of Murdered Journalist Jamal Khashoggi

One of the images allegedly included a representation of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman executing Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.
Jamal Khashoggi
Image: Nahayat Tizhoosh/Twitter

The fallout from Saudi Arabia’s killing of a Washington Post columnist continues. On Monday, hackers appeared to briefly deface the website of ‘Davos in the Desert,’ Saudi Arabia’s Future Investment Initiative, and uploaded an image of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

“For the sake of security for children worldwide, we urge all countries to put sanction on the Saudi regime,” a message underneath the image read, according to screenshots shared by multiple reporters and analysts on Twitter. At the time of writing, the website is offline.


The image itself shows bin Salman brandishing a large sword, standing over Khashoggi, who is wearing an orange jumpsuit, in the same style popularized recently by Islamic State execution videos; bin Salman has “ISIS” written on this clothes.

The Future Investment Initiative is an upcoming conference in Saudi Arabia. Since Khashoggi’s murder, technology and other companies working with the Saudis have faced increased pressure to sever those ties. On Sunday, Joe Kaseser, the head of Siemens, was poised to become the latest business leader to drop out of the event, The Guardian reported. Others that have already decided not to attend include Deutsche Bank and Uber, The Guardian added. Saudi Arabia has invested billions of dollars into Silicon Valley companies.

Another screenshot of the alleged website defacement, shared by CBC News associate producer Nahayat Tizhoosh, shows a table containing names, email addresses, and other information.

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“Exposing a thousand terrorists and spies of the Saudi regime who perform malicious activities around the globe,” an accompanying message, seemingly placed by the alleged hackers, adds. Multiple people included in the table did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul earlier this month in order to obtain necessary paperwork to get married. According to multiple media reports, many based on Turkish sources, a team of Saudis immediately beat, tortured, killed, and ultimately dismembered Khashoggi once he entered.