Biden's U-Turn: US Govt Moves To Protect Saudi Prince From Lawsuit In Khashoggi Killing

Biden's U-Turn: US Govt Moves To Protect Saudi Prince From Lawsuit In Khashoggi Killing

Taking a U-turn on Jamal Khashoggi‘s killing, the Joe Biden administration said Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman should be granted immunity.

What Happened: A court filing made by the U.S. Justice Department lawyers, at the request of the State Department, said because Salman was recently made the Saudi prime minister, as a foreign head of government, he should be considered immune from a lawsuit, reported the Associated Press. 

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“Mohammed bin Salman, the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is the sitting head of government and, accordingly, is immune from this suit,” the Justice Department filing read while calling the murder “heinous.”

The administration made the filing late on Thursday, just before the court’s deadline for the government to give its views on the immunity question and other arguments the prince made for having the lawsuit dismissed. It also had the option of not stating an opinion either way.

The filing said, “In making this immunity determination, the Department of State takes no view on the merits of the present suit and reiterates its unequivocal condemnation of the heinous murder of Jamal Khashoggi.”

The move contrasts sharply with what Biden, a presidential candidate in 2019, had vowed to make a “pariah” out of Saudi Arabian rulers for the country’s human rights issues after the 2018 killing of Khashoggi. 

“I think it was a flat-out murder,” Biden had said, adding, “We should have nailed it as that. I publicly said at the time we should treat it that way and there should be consequences relating to how we deal with those — that power.”

Biden also met Salman in July, when the Saudi crown prince rejected the claims and said he was “not personally responsible” for the death of Khashoggi. To which, Biden said, “I indicated I thought he was.”

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Posted In: EurasiaJamal KhashoggiJoe BidenSaudi ArabiaNewsPoliticsGlobalGeneral