Saudi conference site apparently hacked to display image of murdered journalist

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The website for the Future Investment Initiative, the annual Saudi investment forum, was shutdown after some users were redirected to a protest statement a day before the event is scheduled to take place.

“For the sake of security for children worldwide, we urge all countries to put sanction on the Saudi regime,” the website reportedly read. “The regime, aligned with the United States, must be kept responsible for its barbaric and inhumane action, such as killing its own citizen Jamal Khashoggi and thousands of innocent people in Yemen.”

The image accompanying the text displays the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman wielding a sword, appearing as though he is poised to kill Khashoggi who is knelt down before him in an orange jumpsuit.

The Future Investment Initiative, coined “Davos in the Desert,” is an annual investment conference held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Following the now admitted murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoogi, the country has been faced with mounting pressure from the US lawmakers, officials, and tech executives. A number of executives have chosen to pull out of the conference in the wake of the killing, including Uber CEO Dara Khaosrowshahi.

According to images from CBC News reporter Nahayat Tizhoosh, the site also linked to several YouTube videos, one of which includes clips of President Donald Trump meeting with the Crown Prince. The three videos were posted by an account called bestnews2030 today. The account was created on October 21, and listed only eight views as of press time.

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Over the weekend, it was reported that Saudi government worked to combat dissent on social media through the use of troll farms and the attempted grooming of a Twitter employee to obtain data on targeted subjects. Khashoggi was not specifically identified as one of those targeted.

As of publication, the website is still down.