PARIS (Dispatches) – Rights groups filed a criminal complaint with the Judicial Court of Paris, asking French authorities to investigate Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for his involvement in the torture and killing of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The complaint was filed by Democracy for the Arab World Now (Dawn), Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI), and Trial International.
The crown prince is in Paris, meeting French President Emmanuel Macron.
Dawn, a group created by Khashoggi just months before his murder in 2018, filed a 42-page complaint, arguing why the crown prince is an accomplice to his murder and why these crimes are subject to domestic prosecution in France.
Khashoggi was a Saudi journalist who worked as a columnist for the Washington Post and was often critical of the Saudi monarchy and Mohammed bin Salman. In 2018 he disappeared after entering the Saudi embassy in Istanbul, Turkey and was later found to have died. His body was believed to have been dismembered with a bone saw, but it was never found.
The United States’ intelligence sources have concluded that the murder was directly ordered by the Saudi de-facto ruler. The claim has been corroborated by many leading global human rights organizations.
The West, however, is heavily dependent on Saudi energy exports as it is trying to wean itself off Russian supplies. Macron is expected to ask Saudi Arabia to increase production.
U.S. President Joe Biden also travelled to Saudi Arabia recently in a major step aimed at rehabilitating bin Salman’s image.
Reflecting on the meeting between the Saudi royal, who is also known as MBS, and Macron, the fiancée of the late Khashoggi, Hatice Cengiz, told AFP, “I am scandalized and outraged that Emmanuel Macron is receiving with all the honors the executioner of my fiancé, Jamal Khashoggi.”
Agnes Callamard, the former United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, said, “The visit by MBS to France and Joe Biden to Saudi Arabia do not change the fact that MBS is anything other than a killer.”
His reception by world leaders is “all the more shocking given many of them at the time expressed disgust [over the killing] and a commitment not to bring MBS back into the international community,” she added, denouncing the “double standard.”
Last December, Macron also became the first Western leader to visit Saudi Arabia since the Khashoggi affair.