Joe Biden has been accused of “surrendering” after his administration said the crown prince of Saudi Arabia should not face legal action over the murder of a US-based journalist.
although America president killed in 2018 Jamal Khashoggithe State Council announced mohammad bin salman The senior position should protect him from prosecution for his alleged involvement in the killing.
Officials are calling for immunity for the prince, widely known as MBS, as he faces a lawsuit brought by Mr Khashoggi’s fiancée and Democracy for the Arab World Now, a rights group he founded.
The request is non-binding and the final decision will be made by a judge.
But the move is bound to anger human rights activists and many U.S. politicians as Saudi Arabia cracks down on critics at home and abroad and cuts oil production, a move seen as undermining efforts by the United States and its allies to punish Russia. War on Ukraine.
The State Department said the decision to try to shield the Saudi crown prince from U.S. courts in the Khashoggi killing was “purely a legal decision,” citing a long-standing precedent.
Despite the recommendation, the State Department said it “does not comment on the merits of the current proceedings and reiterates its unequivocal condemnation of the heinous murder of Jamal Khashoggi.”
Saudi officials have killed a Washington Post columnist at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul.
They are believed to have dismembered him, although his remains have never been found.
The U.S. intelligence community has concluded that the crown prince of Saudi Arabia approved the killing of the well-respected and prominent journalist who has been critical of his brutal crackdown on his opponents.
Saudi Arabia denies his involvement.
The statement from the Biden administration highlighted visa restrictions and other penalties imposed on low-level Saudi officials over the deaths.
“From the very beginning of this administration, the United States Government has expressed serious concerns about the responsibility of Saudi agents for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi,” the State Department said.
The statement made no mention of the crown prince’s own alleged role.
As a candidate on the 2019 election campaign, Mr Biden said: “I think it’s an outright murder. I think we should nail it.
“I said publicly at the time that we should treat it that way, we should have an impact on how we deal with that — that power.”
But as president, he has sought to defuse tensions with the kingdom, including a fist bump with Prince Mohammed during a July visit, as the U.S. moved to persuade Saudi Arabia to reverse a series of oil production cuts.
Sarah Leah Whitson, director of DAWN, said: “President Biden single-handedly ensured that MBS could get away with it, while President Biden promised the American people that he would do everything in his power to hold him accountable , which is really ironic.”
As early as February 2021, Biden ruled out the possibility that the US government would punish Prince Mohammed himself for killing Washington resident Khashoggi.
Mr. Biden, speaking after authorizing the release of a declassified version of the intelligence community’s findings into Prince Mohammed’s alleged involvement in the killing, argued that there was no precedent for the United States at the time against the leader of a strategic partner.
Ms Whitson said: “It is impossible to read today’s move by the Biden administration as bowing to Saudi pressure tactics, including cutting oil production to twist our arms to acknowledge MBS’ false immunity tactics.”
A Biden administration could also choose not to speak out in any way.
Sovereign immunity holds that the state and its officials are protected from certain legal proceedings in the domestic courts of other foreign countries.
The State Department said sticking to the concept would help ensure that U.S. leaders do not face being dragged to court in other countries.
Human rights advocates have argued that if the Biden administration backs the crown prince’s claim that his senior position protects him from prosecution, it will encourage more rights violations by Prince Mohammed and other authoritarian leaders around the world.
Prince Mohammed has replaced his father, King Salman, as the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia.
In September, the King of Saudi Arabia also Temporary transfer of the title of Prime Minister – A title normally held by the Saudi monarchy – Prince Mohammed.
Critics say it was meant to bolster his son’s immunity.