US angered by Saudi crown prince’s immunity over journalist’s murder

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By Creative Media News

Following the 2018 scandal, Joe Biden had earlier threatened to brand the country’s leaders as “pariahs,” but the State Department is now pushing for immunity from prosecution.

Joe Biden has been accused of “capitulation” after his administration stated that the crown prince of Saudi Arabia should not be prosecuted for the murder of an American journalist.

The State Department has declared Mohammed bin Salman’s high office should shield him from prosecution for his alleged role in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi in 2018. This is even though the US president had previously vowed to brand the country’s leaders as “pariahs” following the murder of Khashoggi in 2018.

Us angered by saudi crown prince's immunity over journalist's murder
Us angered by saudi crown prince's immunity over journalist's murder

The official request for the prince, also known as MBS, to be granted immunity came as he faces a lawsuit filed by Mr. Khashoggi’s fiancée and the rights organization he founded, Democracy for the Arab World Now.

The request is non-binding, and a judge will make the final determination.

Human rights activists and many US politicians will be angered by the move, which comes as Saudi Arabia cracks down on critics at home and abroad and reduces oil production, a move seen as undermining US and allied efforts to punish Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.

The State Department stated that the decision to attempt to shield the Saudi crown prince from US courts in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi was “strictly a legal determination,” citing a long-standing precedent.

Princes immunity
Us angered by saudi crown prince's immunity over journalist's murder

Despite its recommendation, the State Department stated that it “takes no position on the merits of the present suit” and reiterated its unequivocal condemnation of Jamal Khashoggi’s murder.

The Washington Post columnist was murdered by Saudi officials at the country’s consulate in Istanbul.

It is believed that they dismembered him, but his remains have never been discovered.

The US intelligence community concluded that Saudi Arabia’s crown prince authorized the assassination of the well-known and respected journalist who had criticized his brutal suppression of political opponents.

Saudi Arabia has denied his involvement.

In response to the death, the Biden administration has imposed visa restrictions and other penalties on lower-level Saudi officials.

The State Department stated, “From the earliest days of this administration, the United States government has expressed grave concerns regarding the responsibility of Saudi agents for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

The statement did not mention the alleged role of the crown prince.

As a candidate on the campaign trail in the year 2019, Joe Biden stated, “I believe it was a straightforward murder. And I believe we should have had it right there.

“At the time, I stated publicly that we should consider it as such and that there should be consequences for how we handle those – this power.”

As president, he has worked to soothe tensions with the kingdom, even pumping fists with Prince Mohammed during a July trip as the United States attempts to convince Saudi Arabia to reverse a series of oil production cuts.

Sarah Leah Whitson, the director of DAWN, stated, “It is beyond ironic that President Biden has single-handedly ensured that MBS can avoid accountability when it was President Biden who pledged to the American people that he would do everything possible to hold him accountable.”

Mr. Biden ruled out in February 2021 the possibility that the United States government would punish Prince Mohammed personally for the murder of Washington resident Jamal Khashoggi.

Mr. Biden, speaking after he authorized the release of a declassified version of the intelligence community’s findings on Prince Mohammed’s alleged complicity in the assassination, emphasized at the time that there was no precedence for the United States to move against the leader of a critical ally.

Ms. Whitson stated, “It is impossible to interpret the Biden administration’s action today as anything other than a submission to Saudi pressure techniques, such as reducing oil production to force us to accept MBS’s phoney immunity scheme.”

The Biden administration was also able to refrain from expressing a viewpoint.

Sovereign immunity stipulates that governments and their officials are shielded from certain legal processes in the domestic courts of other foreign states.

The State Department stated that upholding the principle ensures that American leaders will not be brought before foreign tribunals.

Human rights campaigners claimed that if the Biden administration accepted the crown prince’s argument that his high rank shielded him from punishment, it would empower Prince Mohammed and other authoritarian leaders throughout the world to commit additional human rights violations.

Prince Mohammed replaces his father, King Salman, as the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia.

In September, the Saudi king also temporarily ceded his title of prime minister to Prince Mohammed, a position ordinarily held by the Saudi monarch.

Critics characterized it as an attempt to bolster his son’s immunity claim.

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