A US federal judge in Washington, on Tuesday, dismissed a lawsuit filed by the fiancée of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, citing the granting of immunity to President Biden.
US District Judge John Bates indicated that he was reluctant to dismiss the lawsuit but had no choice given the Biden administration’s decision.
“Although the court was disturbed, given the circumstances of bin Salman’s appointment and the credible allegations of his involvement in Khashoggi’s murder, the United States has informed the court that he is immune,” Bates wrote in the 25-page decision.
Citing the circumstances of Prince Mohammed’s appointment as head of state, Bates was referring to the fact that Saudi King Salman bin Salman only appointed Prince Mohammed prime minister in September by royal decree.
Khashoggi was murdered and dismembered in October 2018 by Saudi agents in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, an operation that US intelligence says was ordered by Prince Mohammed, known by his initials Mohammed bin Salman, who has been the kingdom’s de facto ruler for several times. Years. Years.
The prince denied ordering Khashoggi’s murder, but later admitted that it happened “under my tutelage.”
US Justice Department attorneys said in a lawsuit filed in November that the Biden administration had determined that Prince Mohammed “as the sitting head of a foreign government enjoys head of state immunity from the jurisdiction of the courts of the United States because of this function.”
“Jamal is still dead today,” Khashoggi’s fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, said of the decision at the time.
Biden was criticized for shaking hands with the crown prince during a visit to Saudi Arabia in July to discuss energy and security issues. The White House said Biden told Prince Mohammed that he held him responsible for Khashoggi’s killing.
Khashoggi criticized the crown prince’s policy in The Washington Post columns. He went to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to get the papers he needed to marry Genghis, a Turk.