US: Saudi Crown Prince Immune From Khashoggi Lawsuit

    Photo: AP [via The Washington Post]

    The Facts

    • On Thursday, the Biden admin. announced that Saudi Crown Prince and PM Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) should be granted immunity in a lawsuit against him over the 2018 killing of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

    • In a court filing late Thursday, the US State Dept. said that MBS, appointed PM in September, now qualifies as a "sitting head of government," which would grant him immunity from legal action under customary international law.

    The Spin

    Establishment-critical narrative

    When MBS was appointed PM by royal decree, it was obvious that the main purpose was to protect him from prosecution for Khashoggi's murder. By now seeking to grant the crown prince immunity, the US is compromising its values and turning its back on its promise of accountability — proving that it isn't concerned with human rights and justice but only with its own interests.

    Pro-establishment narrative

    Of course, the US would like to see justice served in Khashoggi's case. The decision to grant immunity to MBS as the new Saudi Arabian PM is strictly a legal matter, not a political statement. The fact that Washington even-handedly applies the head-of-state immunity doctrine to the crown prince distinguishes the US as a democracy based on the rule of law.

    Establishment split



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