Amnesty: US immunity to MBS 'deep betrayal'
Amnesty International takes a swing at Washington over granting the Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, immunity that saves him from prosecution in the Khashoggi case.
Amnesty International criticized the administration of US President Joe Biden after the White House announced that Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) "enjoys immunity" that prevents him from being prosecuted in the lawsuits related to the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in his country's consulate in Istanbul in 2018.
The organization criticized Riyadh for appointing MBS as Prime Minister by royal decree, which raised concerns among human rights activists that this would protect the Crown Prince from the consequences of any cases before foreign courts, including a civil case filed by Khashoggi's fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, in the US.
"The US government should hang its head in shame. This is nothing more than a sickening, total, deep betrayal," Amnesty International Secretary General Agnès Callamard said in a statement.
Furthermore, the statement read, "First the evidence of the Crown Prince’s involvement in Jamal Khashoggi’s murder was disregarded by President Trump, then President Biden’s fist bump – it all suggests shady deals made throughout."
The secretary-general of the organization considered that "for the Saudi government to seek to extend immunity to Mohammed bin Salman simply by declaring him Prime Minister is beyond cynical," adding that "it is disappointing that the US government has given effect to this legal ruse."
Callamard noted that this means that the US government is sending "a deplorable message that those in power – be they heads of state, government officials with blood on their hands, generals commanding war crimes, ministers ordering abduction and torture, corrupt executives – are free to operate above the law with total impunity."
In conclusion, Amnesty International noted that "Mohammed bin Salman must face a court of law to answer these serious allegations and we hold out hope that the US court system will reject the department of justice argument and ensure that the matter proceeds to trial," adding that "no one should be assured immunity for such heinous crimes and we, and the international human rights movement as a whole, will not rest until those responsible for Jamal Khashoggi’s murder are brought to justice.”
Biden does not regret calling Saudi Arabia 'pariah'
US President Joe Biden said earlier in July that he has no regrets when it comes to calling KSA "a pariah state" for Riyadh's role in the assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.
"I don't regret anything that I said. What happened to Khashoggi was outrageous," Biden told a press briefing, adding, "if anything occurs like that again, they’ll get that response and much more."
The US leader also said he raised the issue of Khashoggi's murder with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during their meeting in Jeddah.
"With respect to the murder of Khashoggi, I raised it at the top of the meeting, making it clear what I thought of it at the time and what I think of it now," Biden revealed.
Biden then disclosed that MBS told him he did not feel personally responsible for Khashoggi's murder and claimed to have taken action against those who were.