Biden under fire as court throws out Khashoggi’s lawsuit against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman

Joe Biden has come under fire after a court threw out a lawsuit against Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, a decision made after the United States said he should be given immunity.

A federal judge in Washington DC struck down a lawsuit filed by the fiancée of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist assassinated in 2018 at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

US intelligence concluded that the reporter’s assassination had been ordered by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, widely known as MBS. Saudi Arabia and MBS have denied such claims, claiming the 59-year-old had been killed by “rogue agents”.

Hatice Cengiz, Khashoggi’s fiancée, and the Washington-based human rights organization the late journalist founded, filed the lawsuit against MBS in 2020. They alleged that the team of assassins “kidnapped, tied up, drugged, tortured and murdered” Khashoggi. Khashoggi and then they dismembered him. his body. The remains of him have never been found.

While campaigning for the White House, Biden described Saudi Arabia as a “rogue nation” and said he would seek to hold it accountable.

But last week, in the latest in a series of reversals of what Biden said on the campaign trail, his administration announced it believed the crown prince qualified for immunity as a foreign head of government, after he was recently appointed prime minister. saudi

“Mohammed bin Salman, the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is the sitting head of government and is therefore immune from this lawsuit,” a Justice Department document said, calling the killing “heinous.”

On Tuesday, a federal judge threw out the lawsuit, caving in on the Biden administration’s insistence that the prince enjoyed legal immunity.

District of Columbia District Judge John Bates said he was heeding the US government’s motion to protect the crown prince despite what he said were “credible allegations of his involvement in the Khashoggi murder”. .

CCTV shows Jamal Khashoggi ‘body double’ in Istanbul

In a 25-page filing, the court said: “Despite the court’s concern, both about the circumstances of bin Salman’s appointment and about the credible allegations of his involvement in the Khashoggi assassination, the United States has informed the court that is immune. and bin Salman is therefore ‘entitled to head of state immunity…as long as he remains in office’”.

It added: “Accordingly, the claims against bin Salman will be dismissed based on the head of state’s immunity.”

Critics of the Biden administration move have criticized.

“Biden saved the killer by granting him immunity,” Ms Cengiz tweeted last week. “He saved the criminal and got involved in the crime himself. Let’s see who will save you in the afterlife?

Khashoggi, columnist for the washington postHe had a somewhat complicated personal life.

In addition to being engaged to Hatice, three months before his murder by Saudi agents, Khashoggi had married Hanan El-Atr, 52, an Egyptian woman, in a Muslim ceremony in northern Virginia.

Ms. El-Atr spent two years and had to file a lawsuit before she could obtain the certificate proving that she and the famous journalist were married on June 2, 2018 in Alexandria, an event of which she has many photographs. She was wearing a full white wedding dress and was carrying a bouquet of white roses.

She believes that both she and her late husband were spied on electronically. Ms. Hatice has made a similar claim and powerful spyware was found on her phones.

“My message is that the sacrifice of his life was not for his own benefit, but to help those behind bars in Saudi Arabia,” Ms El-Atr said. the independent last year.

The judge also on Tuesday dismissed the other two Saudi plaintiffs, Saud al-Qahtani and Ahmed al-Assiri, both senior Saudi officials, saying the US court lacked jurisdiction over them.

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