Biden Wants to Give Immunity to Saudi Ruler Implicated in Journalist Murder Case

The Biden administration has said that Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman should be granted sovereign immunity in a case involving the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

  • In a court filing released last week, the Biden administration said that Mohammed bin Salman should be withheld from legal action in the civil case regarding the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
  • The documentation revealed the President believes the Crown Prince’s recent promotion to prime minister granted him “the sitting head of government and, accordingly, immune” from being sued over the murder.
  • “The United States government has expressed grave concerns regarding Jamal Khashoggi’s horrific killing and has raised these concerns publicly and with the most senior levels of the Saudi government,” the Department of Justice said in the filing. “However, the doctrine of head of state immunity is well established in customary international law and has been consistently recognized in longstanding executive branch practice as a status-based determination that does not reflect a judgment on the underlying conduct at issue in the litigation.”
  • Saudi Arabia and other OPEC members are reportedly considering a boost in oil production just days after the Biden admin said it favors shielding the Crown Prince from civil litigation related to the killing of Khashoggi, according to The New York Post. The increase in production would help offset the effects of the embargo on Russian oil that the European Union and other industrialized nations are set to announce on Dec 5.

“It’s beyond ironic that President Biden has single-handedly assured [Mohammed bin Salman] can escape accountability when it was President Biden who promised the American people he would do everything to hold him accountable,” EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE GROUP said.

  • In February 2021, US intelligence agencies concluded in a declassified report that bin Salman approved the 2018 murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
  • The four-page report confirmed the long-suspected position that the future king played a role in the violent murder of Khashoggi, a former Saudi insider who was living in exile in the United States.
  • When asked at the time if the president had concerns about Mohammed’s position, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said it was for Saudi Arabia to “determine the path forward on their future leadership.”
  • “I will say that the president has been clear, and we’ve been clear by our actions that we’re going to recalibrate the relationship,” Psaki said.