Saudi Crown Prince, Now PM, Claims Immunity In Journalist’s Murder Suit. In response to a U.S. lawsuit regarding the murder of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi in 2018, the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s attorneys stated in court on Monday that the crown prince’s election as prime minister last week guaranteed him protection from prosecution.
Saudi agents assassinated Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul during an operation that, according to U.S. intelligence, was directed by Prince Mohammed, who has long served as the kingdom’s de facto ruler.
Although the prince initially denied giving the order for Khashoggi’s murder, he eventually said it happened “under my watch.”
Saudi Crown Prince, Now PM, Claims Immunity In Journalist’s Murder Suit. He was appointed prime minister by his elderly father King Salman last week in a royal decree that, according to a Saudi official, was in keeping with the duties the crown prince was already carrying out.
The Crown Prince’s attorneys stated in a petition asking the court to dismiss the case, noting past instances where the United States had recognized immunity for a foreign head of state, that “The Royal Order leaves no doubt that the Crown Prince is entitled to status-based immunity.”
When visiting Saudi Arabia in July to address energy and security problems, U.S. President Joe Biden gave the crown prince a fist bump and reminded Prince Mohammed that he was to blame for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Prince Mohammed, he claimed, denied any involvement and insisted those responsible had been held accountable.
Khashoggi was murdered and mutilated in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul after writing articles critical of the crown prince’s policies for the Washington Post. He went there to pick up the documents he needed to marry Hatice Cengiz, a Turkish citizen.
The case was brought against the crown prince, often known as MbS in the West, by Cengiz and a human rights organization that Khashoggi founded. Furthermore, it included more than 20 additional Saudis as co-defendants.
After learning that Mr. Khashoggi intended to use the organization as “a platform to espouse political reform and promote human rights,” it was claimed that MbS, his co-defendants, and others plotted to “permanently silence Mr. Khashoggi.”
The U.S. Department of Justice was given until October 3 to respond to the court’s request for an opinion on whether Prince Mohammed was immune from prosecution.
After the prince’s appointment as prime minister last week, the department said on Friday it was seeking a 45-day extension to prepare its response to the court “in light of these changed circumstances.”