US Dismisses Suit Against Saudi Ruler Over Khashoggi Killing

    Photo: Saudi Royal Palace/AP [via Al Jazeera]

    The Facts

    • A US federal judge on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) over the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. This decision comes weeks after Pres. Joe Biden’s administration asked that MBS be granted immunity.

    • In a statement, Judge John D. Bates of the US District Court for the District of Columbia explained, “the United States has informed the court that he is immune, and bin Salman is therefore entitled to head of state immunity … while he remains in office.”

    The Spin

    Establishment-critical narrative

    The granting of immunity to MBS prioritizes political glad-handing over human rights, and the judge saw right through it. Unfortunately, Bates, who called the allegations against MBS “credible,” couldn’t do more to hold the prince accountable because of the Biden administration's shady move.

    Pro-establishment narrative

    Sovereign immunity exists as much to protect foreign figureheads as American leaders and diplomats from being subject to foreign laws, and it’s being applied properly to MBS. It’s customary to protect allied foreign heads of state from lawsuits. This isn't a question of whether Saudi Arabia violates human rights but whether the kingdom is firmly aligned with the US.

    Establishment split



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