Saudi crown prince faces lawsuit from press watchdog RSF

By: News Desk      Published: 03:01 PM, 2 Mar, 2021
Saudi crown prince faces lawsuit from press watchdog RSF

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said Tuesday that it had filed a criminal case in a German court against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for "crimes against humanity" in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The complaint, which seeks an inquiry by prosecutors under Germany's international jurisdiction laws, accuses Saudi Arabia of persecuting Khashoggi -- who was murdered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018 -- as well as dozens of other journalists.

US President Joe Biden on Friday released an intelligence report that found that Prince Mohammed approved the 2018 killing of Khashoggi, a US-based contributor to The Washington Post who was lured into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul where he was strangled to death and dismembered.

The report -- classified under former president Donald Trump, a close ally of the Saudis -- found that seven of the 15 members of the hit squad that flew to Istanbul came from the Rapid Intervention Force, which it said "exists to defend the crown prince" and "answers only to him."

Also in October 2020, the fiancee of slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi had filed a lawsuit against Saudi Arabia's crown prince, accusing him of ordering the killing. Hatice Cengiz and the rights group Khashoggi formed before his death were pursuing Mohammed bin Salman and more than 20 others for unspecified damages.

Khashoggi was killed by a team of Saudi agents during a visit to the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, in 2018. 

The crown prince has denied ordering the killing. 

Khashoggi was a prominent critic of the Saudi government and had been living in self-imposed exile in the US, frequently writing for the Washington Post.

In the civil lawsuit filed in Washington DC on Tuesday, Turkish citizen Ms Cengiz claims personal injury and financial losses over Khashoggi's death. 

Khashoggi's human rights group, Democracy for the Arab World Now (Dawn), said its operations were hampered. The lawsuit alleged that Khashoggi was murdered "pursuant to a directive of defendant Mohammed bin Salman".