WASHINGTON (Dispatches) – The fiancée of slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and a human rights group that he founded have filed a lawsuit in a U.S. court with saying that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) ordered him killed.
Hatice Cengiz and Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), a U.S.-based human rights group founded by Khashoggi, a legal resident of Virginia, filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
The civil lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages against bin Salman, also named more than 20 other Saudis as defendants. It coincides with complications in the U.S.-Saudi relationship over the 2018 slaying of Khashoggi, Riyadh’s human rights record, its role in Yemen’s civil war and other issues.
Khashoggi, who criticized the policies of the crown prince, Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, in Washington Post columns, was killed and dismembered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. He went there to obtain papers he needed to marry Cengiz, a Turkish citizen.
The lawsuit said Khashoggi — who lived in the US in self-imposed exile — was murdered "pursuant to a directive of defendant Mohammed bin Salman.”
It added that MbS, his co-defendants and others carried out a plot to "permanently silence Mr. Khashoggi” no later than the summer of 2018 after discovering his "plans to utilize DAWN as a platform to espouse democratic reform and promote human rights.”
A lawsuit was filed in August in a U.S. court by a former top Saudi intelligence official who accused the crown prince of sending a hit team to kill him in Canada, where he lives in exile.
Both lawsuits were brought under a law allowing U.S. court actions against foreign officials over allegations of involvement in torture or extrajudicial killings.
The American CIA spy agency and intelligence services of other countries have said the evidence altogether demonstrated bin Salman’s culpability.
Agnes Callamard, the UN special rapporteur for extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, who investigated Khashoggi’s murder, has also said "credible evidence” links the Saudi crown prince to the killing of the Washington Post journalist and said he should be investigated.