On Thursday, the State Department described the administration’s decision to try to protect the Saudi crown prince from US courts in Khashoggi’s murder as “a purely legal decision.”
And despite the support of the Crown Prince in his attempt to prevent the lawsuit against him, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs “does not take an opinion on the subject of the current lawsuit and reiterates its unequivocal condemnation of the heinous murder of Jamal Khashoggi,” which the court made late. Thursday said.
Saudi officials killed Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. It is believed that they dismembered him, although his remains have not been found. US intelligence agencies have concluded that the Saudi crown prince had approved the killing of the widely known and respected journalist, who wrote critical of Prince Mohammed’s ruthless methods of silencing those he viewed as rivals or critics.
The Biden administration’s statement on Thursday referred to the visa restrictions and other penalties it imposed on lower-ranking Saudi officials in death.
“Since the early days of this administration, the United States government has expressed grave concern about the responsibility of Saudi agents for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi,” the US State Department said. Her statement did not refer to the alleged role of the crown prince.
As a candidate, Biden vowed to make Saudi rulers “pariahs” because of Khashoggi’s murder in 2018.
“I think it was categorical murder,” Biden said at CNN’s 2019 City Council as a candidate. “And I think we should have called it that. I said publicly at the time that we should approach it that way, and there should be consequences for how we deal with those — that power.”
But Biden as president has sought to ease tensions with the kingdom, including a fistfight with Prince Mohammed on a July trip to the kingdom, as the United States works to persuade Saudi Arabia to undo a series of oil production cuts.
Khashoggi’s fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, and Dawn have filed a lawsuit against the crown prince, his top aides, and others in Washington federal court over their alleged roles in Khashoggi’s murder. Saudi Arabia says the prince had no direct role in the killing.
“It is no irony that President Biden single-handedly asserted that Mohammed bin Salman could get away with impeachment when it was President Biden who promised the American people that he would do everything in his power to hold him accountable,” Sarah Leah Whitson, president of DAWN, said in a statement. Prince abbreviation.
In February 2021, Biden ruled out the US government imposing punishment on Prince Mohammed himself in the killing of Khashoggi, a resident of the Washington area. Speaking after he authorized the release of a declassified version of the intelligence community’s findings on Prince Mohammed’s role in the killing, Biden said at the time there was no precedent for the United States to act against the leader of a strategic partner.
The US military has always worked to protect Saudi Arabia from external enemies, in exchange for Saudi Arabia keeping the world’s oil markets afloat.
“It is impossible to read the Biden administration’s move today as anything more than giving in to Saudi pressure tactics, including cutting oil production to twist our arms around Mohammed bin Salman’s fake immunity ploy,” said Sarah Leah Whitson.
A federal judge in Washington had given the US government until midnight Thursday to express its opinion on the claim by the crown prince’s lawyer that Prince Mohammed’s superior status makes him legally immune in the case.
The Biden administration also had the option of not expressing an opinion in either case.
Sovereign immunity, a concept rooted in international law, states that states and their officials are protected from certain legal actions in the domestic courts of other foreign countries.
Upholding the concept of “sovereign immunity,” the State Department said, helps ensure that US leaders, in turn, do not have to worry about being referred to foreign courts to face lawsuits in other countries.
Human rights advocates have argued that a Biden administration will embolden Prince Mohammed and other authoritarian leaders around the world to further rights abuses if it backs the crown prince’s claim that his high position shields him from prosecution.
Prince Mohammed is the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia in place of his aging father, King Salman. The Saudi king also in September temporarily transferred the title of prime minister — a title usually held by the Saudi monarch — to Prince Mohammed. Critics described it as an attempt to strengthen Muhammad’s claim for immunity.
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