Saudi prince has immunity in Khashoggi killing lawsuit, say attorneys By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Saudi Arabia’s newly designated Prime Minister, Mohammed bin Salman speaks throughout his assembly within the Ministry of Defence in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, September 27, 2022. Saudi Press Company/Handout by way of REUTERS/File Photograph

(Reuters) – Attorneys for Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, going through a U.S. lawsuit over the 2018 killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, instructed a court docket on Monday the crown prince’s appointment as prime minister final week ensured him immunity from prosecution.

Khashoggi was killed by Saudi brokers within the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in an operation which U.S. intelligence believed was ordered by Prince Mohammed, who has been the dominion’s de facto ruler for a number of years.

The prince denied ordering Khashoggi’s killing, however acknowledged later it passed off “underneath my watch.”

Final week his aged father King Salman named him prime minister in a royal decree which a Saudi official mentioned was according to tasks the crown prince was already exercising.

“The Royal Order leaves little question that the Crown Prince is entitled to status-based immunity,” attorneys for the prince mentioned in a petition requesting the court docket dismiss the case, citing different circumstances the place america has recognised immunity for a international head of state.

U.S. President Joe Biden, who fist-bumped the crown prince on a go to to Saudi Arabia in July to debate power and safety points, had instructed Prince Mohammed that Biden held him liable for Khashoggi’s killing. He mentioned Prince Mohammed denied involvement and asserted these concerned had been held to account.

Khashoggi, who criticized the crown prince’s insurance policies in Washington Submit columns, was killed and dismembered within the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. He went there to acquire papers he wanted to marry Hatice Cengiz, a Turkish citizen.

The lawsuit was filed collectively by Cengiz and a human rights group based by Khashoggi, and sought unspecified damages towards the crown prince, identified within the West as MbS. It additionally named greater than 20 different Saudis as co-defendants.

It charged that MbS, his co-defendants and others carried out a plot to “completely silence Mr. Khashoggi” after discovering he deliberate to make use of the group as “a platform to espouse democratic reform and promote human rights.”

The court docket had requested the U.S. Division of Justice to specific a view on whether or not Prince Mohammed had immunity, setting an Oct. 3 deadline for a response.

After the prince’s appointment as prime minister final week, the division mentioned on Friday it was in search of a 45-day extension to arrange its response to the court docket “in gentle of those modified circumstances.”

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