Saudi prince has immunity in Jamal Khashoggi killing lawsuit: US : The Tribune India

Washington, November 18

The Biden administration has declared that Saudi Arabia’s crown prince should be considered immune from a lawsuit over his role in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, a turnaround from Joe Biden’s passionate campaign trail denunciations of Prince Mohammed bin Salman over the brutal slaying.

Again, money came first

Jamal died again today. We thought maybe there would be a light to justice from the USA. But again, money came first. — Hatice Cengiz, Jamal Khashoggi’s ex-fiancée

The administration on Thursday said the senior position of the crown prince, Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler and recently named prime minister as well, should shield him against a suit brought by the fiancee of slain Washington Post columnist Khashoggi and by the rights group Khashoggi founded, Democracy for the Arab World Now.

The request is non-binding and a judge will ultimately decide whether to grant immunity. But it is bound to anger human rights activists and many US lawmakers, coming as Saudi Arabia has stepped up imprisonment and other retaliation against peaceful critics at home and abroad and has cut oil production, a move seen as undercutting efforts by the US and its allies to punish Russia for its war against Ukraine.

The State Department has called the administration’s call to shield the Saudi crown prince from US courts in Khashoggi’s killing “purely a legal determination”.

The State Department cited what it said was a longstanding precedent. Despite its recommendation to the court, the State Department said in its filing late Thursday, it “takes no view on the merits of the present suit and reiterates its unequivocal condemnation of the heinous murder of Khashoggi”.

Saudi officials killed Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. They are believed to have dismembered him, although his remains have never been found. The US intelligence community concluded Saudi Arabia’s crown prince had approved the killing of the widely known and respected journalist, who had written critically of Prince Mohammed’s harsh ways of silencing of those he considered rivals or critics.

The Biden administration’s statement on Thursday noted visa restrictions and other penalties that it had meted out to lower-ranking Saudi officials in the death. “From the earliest days of this administration, the United States Government has expressed its grave concerns regarding Saudi agents’ responsibility for Jamal Khashoggi’s murder,” the State Department said. — AP

‘Purely a legal determination’

The US State Department has called the administration’s call to shield the Saudi crown prince from US courts in Khashoggi’s killing ‘purely a legal determination’. “It takes no view on the merits of the suit and reiterates its unequivocal condemnation of the murder of Khashoggi,” it said.


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