The US Department of State has given Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman immunity from a lawsuit over the murder of Jamal Khashoggi despite Joe Biden’s earlier promise to hold the de facto ruler accountable for the crime.
In a statement on Thursday, the US State Department announced that it “recognizes and allows the immunity.” Citing its constitutional authority as well as customary international law, the department said, “Prime Minister bin Salman as a sitting head of government is immune while in office from the jurisdiction of the United States District Court in this suit.”
Hatice Cengiz, the fiancée of slain dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and the Democracy for Arab World Now (DAWN) had filed a lawsuit over the heinous murder in the federal district court of Washington DC.
It alleges that Khashoggi, a US resident and Washington Post columnist, was tortured, murdered, and dismembered on the orders of bin Salman. The CIA has previously confirmed that the Saudi crown prince was in fact personally behind the murder.
Back in late September, MBS was named as prime minister of Saudi Arabia in a move that experts believed was linked to the lawsuit in a bid to shield him from any legal consequences.