January 25, 2023

A federal judge has dismissed a US lawsuit against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the murder of US-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

A federal judge dismissed a US lawsuit against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the murder of US-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi (Photo: AP)

A US judge has dismissed a lawsuit against the crown prince of Saudi Arabia over the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Tuesday’s decision comes after the Biden administration told the DC District Court that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whose title is prime minister, is “entitled to immunity as head of state.”

“Despite the court’s unease, with both the circumstances of Bin Salman’s nomination and the credible allegations of his involvement in Khashoggi’s assassination, the United States has informed the court that he is immune,” wrote U.S. District Judge John Bates in his opinion.

“Accordingly, the claims against bin Salman will be dismissed on the basis of the immunity of the head of state,” the court said.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman became Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia in September

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman became Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia in September (Photo: AP)

Khashoggi, a Saudi dissident living in Virginia, was strangled and dismembered by officers when he visited the Saudi Arabian consulate in 2018. His fiancĂ©e, Hatice Cengiz, filed the suit. She said last month that “Biden saved the killer by granting immunity.”

Prince Mohammed’s father, King Salman, appointed his son prime minister in September.

The court also dismissed the cases against co-defendants Saud al-Qahtani and Ahmed al-Assiri, who were senior Saudi officials at the time of Khashoggi’s murder.

While throwing out the lawsuit, the court determined that “the “heinous” murder had been sanctioned by bin Salman himself.”

Saudi dissident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed when he visited Saudi Arabia's consulate in 2018

Saudi dissident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed when he visited Saudi Arabia’s consulate in 2018 (Photo: AP)

Bin Salman has denied ordering Khashoggi’s assassination. However, he has accepted “responsibility” since it “happened under my supervision.”

Arab World Now, the advocacy group that filed the lawsuit on behalf of Cengiz, called the decision “sad news for accountability.” Still, the group’s “fight for justice” continues and is consulting with lawyers, said executive director Sarah Leah Whitson.

The Biden administration’s argument for bin Salman garnered criticism from the Post, among others. The paper’s publisher and CEO, Fred Ryan, stated on Friday that President Joe Biden is “granting a license to kill to one of the world’s most egregious human rights abusers responsible for the cold-blooded murder of Jamal Khashoggi.”

Contact our news team by emailing webnews@metro.co.uk.

For more stories like this, check our news page.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *