US dismisses case against Saudi prince
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- A judge has dismissed a lawsuit against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the killing of U.S.-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
- The judge noted that the lawsuit had merit, but heeded the Biden administration’s stance that the prince had sovereign immunity.
- Critics argued that the prince was only recently given the title of prime minister, which could have been a tactical move.
A lawsuit against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the killing of U.S.-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi has been dismissed by a U.S. federal judge.
District of Columbia U.S. District Judge John D. Bates noted that there were “credible allegations of his involvement in Khashoggi’s murder.” But he ultimately heeded the U.S. government’s motion to acknowledge Prince Mohammed’s sovereign immunity.
As a columnist for The Washington Post, Khashoggi had criticized Prince Mohammed’s harsh policies as Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler.
In 2018, Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain the necessary documents for his upcoming marriage. He was killed by a unit of Saudi officials while his fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, unknowingly waited outside.
After an investigation, the U.S. intelligence community concluded that the operation against Khashoggi was ordered by the Prince Mohammed.
Cengiz, supported by a rights group founded by Khashoggi before his death, filed the lawsuit naming two top aides of the prince as accomplices.
Khashoggi’s killing increased tensions between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. But President Joe Biden’s administration has recently been trying to bridge the rift as the U.S. attempts to urge the kingdom to undo oil production cuts.
Last month, the Biden administration said that Prince Mohammed had sovereign immunity from the U.S. lawsuit as Saudi Arabia’s prime minister. He had been named as prime minister weeks earlier by his father, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman.
The lawsuit argued that the position could have been tactically given to shield him from the case.
Bates wrote on Tuesday’s ruling that “there is a strong argument that plaintiffs’ claims against bin Salman and the other defendants are meritorious.” But he expressed “uneasiness” with the prince’s new title.
The judge had invited, but not ordered, the Biden administration to offer an opinion on the matter. The government maintained that heads of government have had longstanding legal precedent on immunity from other nations’ courts, and that the prince had such immunity despite only recently obtaining the title.
Ultimately, Bates heeded the administration’s opinion and dismissed the prince as a plaintiff. The two other Saudi plaintiffs were also dismissed, on account of the U.S. court lacking jurisdiction over them.
Prince Mohammed has already been previously shielded from government penalties by the Biden administration, again on account of sovereign immunity.
Criticism arose from Saudi exiles and rights groups. They pointed out that shielding the prince from being held accountable in the death of Khashoggi would act like a go-ahead for other authoritarian rulers to commit future crimes.
December 8, 2022 at 6:37 pm
Diplomatic immunity is a BS law that is so widely abused. Needs to end!
December 8, 2022 at 6:45 pm
The title of this article needs some adjusting. The U.S. did not dismiss the murder case against the Saudi prince. The Biden administration did!
December 8, 2022 at 8:27 pm
You got it Paul E!
Murdering a reporter isn’t any worse to the biden administration than counterfeiting trillions of dollars to pass out to freeloaders in this country so they can afford to sit around and wait for the next election ready to vote for Democrats.
Giving BLM and Antifa a free pass to rampage the country and murder dozens of people in the commotion didn’t bother the O-Biden administration either.
The reality of this chaos needs to hit closer to home!