US President Joe Biden faced accusations of surrendering to Saudi Arabia after his administration said that the nation’s crown prince should not be prosecuted.
US President Joe Biden faced intense outrage and accusations of surrendering to Saudi Arabia after his administration announced that the middle eastern country’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, should not be prosecuted over his alleged involvement in the assassination of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.
The administration’s suggestion has garnered strong backlash from the slain journalist’s fiancee Hatice Cengiz and several human rights groups. According to Sky News, the head of nonprofit organization Democracy for the Arab World Now, which was founded by Khashoggi, condemned the move and criticized Biden for changing his 2019 stance on the grave issue, when he urged that there “should be consequences” for the “flat-out murder.”
“It’s beyond ironic that President Biden has singlehandedly assured MBS can escape accountability when it was President Biden who promised the American people he would do everything to hold him accountable,” said DAWN head Sarah Leah Whitson. “It’s impossible to read the Biden administration’s move today as anything more than a capitulation to Saudi pressure tactics, including slashing oil output to twist our arms to recognize MBS’s fake immunity ploy,” she added.
While accepting or declining the US government’s request of providing immunity to the crown prince remains in the hands of the judge, it still comes as a big blow to Cengiz, who said that it feels like “Jamal died again.” The request was also condemned by Nihad Awad, the head of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, who wrote on Twitter that “the Biden administration sold Jamal Khashoggi’s blood for Saudi oil.”
Biden administration requests for MBS’ immunity in court filing
The public outrage came after the US government said in a court filing on Thursday that Mohammed bin Salman, often referred to by his initials MBS, should be given immunity for allegedly ordering the killing of Jamal Khashoggi because of his promotion to the post of prime minister of Saudi Arabia earlier in September.
As per the filing, the US Department of State “recognizes and allows the immunity of Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman as a sitting head of government,” even though it asserts its “unequivocal condemnation” of Khashoggi’s “heinous” murder. However, it takes “takes no view” of the case filed by DAWN and Cengiz against the prince and “co-conspirators.”
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