Мухаммед ибн Салман (Bandar Aljaloud/Saudi royal court/EPA)

A US court sent a subpoena via WhatsApp. Delivery was confirmed with a tick in the messenger


The American court began to use modern paperless technology to send subpoenas. It became known about a case when, instead of the traditional paper summons, a participant in the proceedings received a simple message in the WhatsApp messenger. Moreover, as confirmation of the receipt of an official document, the court accepted the usual notification of the messenger about the delivery and reading of the message.

Mohammed ibn Salman (Bandar Aljaloud / Saudi royal court / EPA)

Mohammed ibn Salman (Bandar Aljaloud / Saudi royal court / EPA)

This is a rather loud process. In August this year, a US federal court in Washington, DC received a statement of claim in which former Saudi intelligence officer Saad al-Jabri accused Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman of attempted murder. And the hereditary principle was notified of this claim via WhatsApp on September 22.

Screenshots posted online confirm that Prince Bin Salman received and read WhatsApp messages. According to the court document, the summons was sent in both English and Arabic. In addition, similar subpoenas were delivered via messenger to other defendants in this case.

I was able to confirm that the package of documents and service messages were delivered to each respondent via WhatsApp“Investigator Thomas Moosters said in his sworn testimony in court this week. He also noted that the package of documents and service messages were reviewed by the defendants. This was established thanks to the fact that WhatsApp notifies about the delivery and reading of sent messages.

Curiously, the summons was delivered to the Saudi prince through a platform that he himself is believed to be actively using for dubious activities. In particular, he was previously accused of using WhatsApp to hack the smartphones of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi.



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