Media advocacy group: Saudi crown prince committed crimes against humanity in Khashoggi killing
A media advocacy group is accusing Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of committing crimes against humanity in connection with the 2018 killing of Jamal Khashoggi and the prosecution of other journalists.
Reporters without Borders (RSF) also named a number of other Saudi officials in a criminal complaint filed in Germany, including Saud al-Qahtani, an aide to the crown prince, and onetime deputy intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Ahmed al-Assiri. It accuses both of “organizational or executive responsibility” in Khashoggi’s death inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Khashoggi, a U.S. resident, had been critical of the Saudi government in his writing.
“A crime against humanity is a widespread and systematic attack committed by individuals in full knowledge of this attack against a civilian population,” the Paris group said in a statement. “In Saudi Arabia, journalists, who are a civilian population according to international law, are victims of widespread and systematic attacks for political reasons in furtherance of a state policy aimed at punishing or silencing them.”
The complaint also lists 34 journalists currently detained in Saudi Arabia.
“RSF’s message to those who silence, imprison, assassinate, or otherwise target journalists is that they won’t get away with it with impunity,” RSF Secretary General Christophe Deloire told The Washington Post.
The charges were filed in Germany, RSF stated, because the “German judiciary is the best suited system to receive such a complaint, as German laws give them jurisdiction over core international crimes committed abroad, and German courts have already shown readiness and willingness to prosecute international criminals.”
“If we did not seriously expect that the general prosecutor could pick the complaint up, we would not have filed it,” Christian Mihr, executive director for RSF in Germany, told the Post. “But in the end time will show.”
The complaint follows last Friday’s release of a report by the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence, that found the crown prince, who is the kingdom’s de facto leader, “approved an operation … to capture or kill” Khashoggi.
President Biden has declined to impose sanctions on Mohammed bin Salman himself.