Hanan El-Atr, the widow of Jamal Khashoggi, always felt she was being spied on. Now, she has proof. In April 2018, six months before the journalist was murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul by a hit squad dispatched by Riyadh, she was pulled over by the Emirati authorities at Dubai International Airport, and questioned.
She had deleted from her British phone, three WhatsApp messages she had sent to a Moroccan singer living in London and a journalist in Qatar. Yet, her interrogators knew the content of those messages. “Telling me the content of the messages at the beginning of my detention really scared and I couldn’t recall a thing to answer their questions,” says El-Atr, who for a number of years worked as a flight steward for Emirates Airlines.
“I have nothing to hide, but they keep threatening me, saying they will get my family, or torture my family in front of me to answer their questions. Or they will hand my family over to Egyptian intelligence to be tortured or sent to jail or even killed.”