A federal judge in the country’s capital agreed to dismiss a civil lawsuit against Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over the killing of writer Jamal Khashoggi after the Biden administration said he should be granted immunity as head of state.
Judge John Bates wrote in an opinion filed on Tuesday that the lawsuit – brought by Khashoogi’s fiancé Hatice Cengiz and pro-democracy group DAWN – “must be dismissed at this time,” despite a motion by the plaintiffs’ attorneys that the judge overturn the decision of Biden to challenge .
“As a branch of government primarily responsible for international affairs and diplomacy, the executive branch could be hampered or embarrassed should the judiciary question its decisions on foreign immunity,” Bates wrote.
“Despite the court’s concerns, given the circumstances of bin Salman’s appointment and the credible allegations of his involvement in Khashoggi’s assassination, the United States has told the court that he is immune and therefore bin Salman is “eligible to become head of state with immunity.” . . as long as he remains in office,’” Bates continued.
“Accordingly, the lawsuits against bin Salman are dismissed on the basis of the head of state’s immunity,” he added.
Khashoogi was killed by Saudi officials in 2018 after being lured into the nation’s consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. His body is believed to have been dismembered, but remains of the murder were never recovered.
US intelligence determined that bin Salman authorized the assassination of the well-known journalist and author, who wrote critically of the Saudi leader’s authoritarian rule in the Arab nation.
Biden’s attempt to grant bin Salman immunity drew sharp criticism from those who wanted it to hold bin Salman accountable for the murder.
“It is beyond ironic that President Biden has single-handedly assured MBS that MBS can evade accountability, despite President Biden’s pledge to the American people to do whatever it takes to hold him accountable,” said DAWN executive director Sarah Leah Whitson, in a statement after the immunity was granted in November.
Biden has sought to defuse tensions with the Saudis after taking a hard line on the assassination as a candidate ahead of the 2020 presidential election.
“I think it was downright murder,” Biden said in 2019. “And I think we should have nailed it like that. I said publicly at the time that we should treat it this way and there should be consequences for how we use that power.”
As president, Biden attempted to join forces with bin Salman to slash gas prices — and famously punched the authoritarian during a July visit to Jeddah.
With postal wires
https://nypost.com/2022/12/06/judge-tosses-jamal-khashoggi-suit-against-mbs-after-biden-gives-prince-immunity/ Judge throws out Jamal Khashoggi’s lawsuit against MBS after Biden grants immunity to prince