The US administration has determined that the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, has legal immunity from the lawsuit brought against him for the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.
The US Department of Justice, in a document submitted to the District Court of Columbia, wrote that the doctrine of immunity of heads of state is based on customary international law, so that the accused Bin Salman, as the head of a foreign state, enjoy immunity from the jurisdiction of US courts.
Khashoggi was killed and dismembered by Saudi agents at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in an operation that US intelligence believed was ordered by Prince Mohammed, who has been the kingdom’s “de facto” ruler for several years.
The prince denied ordering Khashoggi’s killing, but later said he took responsibility because it “happened under his watch”. During his visit to Saudi Arabia in July, US President Joe Biden told the prince that he held him responsible for Khashoggi’s murder.
Khashoggi criticized the crown prince’s policies. He traveled to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to get the papers he needed to marry Hatice Cengiz, a Turkish citizen.
On Twitter, Cengiz condemned such a statement, saying that “Jamal died again today”. “We thought that maybe the light of justice could come from the US, but again money came first,” she added.