A US federal judge in Washington on Tuesday dismissed the case filed by the fiancee of slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, citing President Biden grants immunity.
U.S. District Judge John Bates said he was reluctant to withdraw the lawsuit but had no choice in the face of the Biden administration’s decision.
“Despite the Court’s concerns, then, with both the circumstances of bin Salman’s appointment and the credible allegations of his involvement in the murder of Mr. Khashoggi, the United States informed the Court. that he is exempt,” Bates wrote in the 25-page ruling.
Citing the case of Crown Prince Mohammed being appointed head of state, Bates referred to the fact that it was only in September that King Salman of Saudi Arabia appointed Crown Prince Mohammed as prime minister in a royal decree. .
Khashoggi was killed and dismembered in October 2018 by Saudi agents in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, an operation that US intelligence believes was carried out by Prince Mohammed, known for his initials MbS, who ruled the kingdom for several years.
The prince denied ordering Khashoggi’s murder but later admitted that it took place “under my supervision.”
Attorneys for the US Department of Justice said in a November court filing that the Biden administration had determined that Prince Mohammed, “as head of a foreign government, enjoys human immunity.” head of state over the jurisdiction of the courts of the United States by virtue of that office.”
Khashoggi’s fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, said of the decision at the time: “Jamal died again today.”
Biden was criticized for holding the crown prince’s hand during a visit to Saudi Arabia in July to discuss energy and security issues. The White House said Biden told Crown Prince Mohammed he held him responsible for Khashoggi’s murder.
Khashoggi criticized the crown prince’s policies in columns of the Washington Post. He went to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to get the necessary documents to marry Cengiz, a Turkish citizen.