Reporters Without Borders has described Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and four other senior Saudis with crimes against humanity. The organization submitted a report of more than 500 pages to the Federal Prosecutor in Karlsruhe, Germany.
The report highlights the crimes committed against 35 journalists: The killing of Jamal Khashoggi and 34 others detained in Saudi Arabia, among them well-known blogger Raif Badawi.
Reporters Without Borders describes a reality in which the lives and freedoms of Saudi journalists are threatened by widespread and systematic attacks aimed at silencing them. The attacks are specifically targeted at journalists critical of the authoritarian regime, which ranks 170 out of 180 in the organization’s Press Freedom Index.
“The journalists have been victims of murder, torture, sexual assault, forced abduction, extrajudicial detention and persecution,” Christophe Delaware, president of Reporters Without Borders, said at a digital press conference.
– Perpetrators of crimes against journalists must be held accountable in Saudi Arabia. Absolute force should not be rewarded with impunity.
Hope for a preliminary investigation
The report was prepared in Germany because its courts were previously prepared to try international criminals. The principle of universal jurisdiction, which grants a foreign country the right to prosecute serious international crimes, has recently led to the Court of Coblenz being the first in the world to rule on state-sponsored torture in Syria.
In addition to the crown prince, the report is directed to his closest advisors, Saud Al-Qattani, former head of the security apparatus Ahmed Muhammad Asiri, Consul General Muhammad Al-Otaibi, and intelligence officer Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb. The Freedom of the Press Organization described them as being involved in planning to assassinate Khashoggi, in addition to their participation in a government campaign to silence journalists in Saudi Arabia.
Our report is a first and historic step. We hope for a preliminary investigation into crimes against humanity in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We are urging the German attorney general to take a stand, ”says Delaware.
“The truth is not enough”
Last week, a report was published in which the CIA reported that Mohammed bin Salman personally approved the killing of the regime’s critic, Jamal Khashoggi. He was brutally murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, in 2018.
However, US President Joe Biden chose not to impose direct sanctions on the crown prince.
– The truth has been revealed, but it is not enough. Khashoggi’s fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, said at the press conference that the crown prince should be punished for his crimes.
We must fight for justice. World leaders must ensure that the crown prince is not accepted, held accountable, and sanctioned.
“Must be punished”
UN Special Investigator Agnes Callamard has also concluded that there is evidence linking Mohammed bin Salman to the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. She said leaving the pursuit of justice entirely in Saudi Arabia’s hands is not a reasonable option, as the country’s legal system is subject to political pressure.
It became clear to me from the outset that it would be necessary to go beyond the usual ways of getting justice. The killers and the brains behind the murders should be punished, she said at the press conference.
I believe that killing Khashoggi is an international crime that falls under the principle of universal jurisdiction. Registration is a hack and an important step along the way.
Sophia Erickson / TT
Jamal Khashoggi was an outspoken critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. He fled the country in September 2017 after the prince was appointed heir to the throne.
Khashoggi criticized, among other things, Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the war in Yemen and said that a culture of fear prevails in the kingdom after the mass arrests of human rights activists and dissidents.
Khashoggi went to the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, to obtain documents enabling him to marry. He did not come alive from there.
Initially, Saudi officials claimed that Khashoggi left the consulate after his case was executed. Only 17 days after the disappearance, the regime admitted to the journalist’s murder. The explanation given at that time is that he died due to a derailed fight. The regime later changed its mind, saying the killers had planned the operation.
Several Saudis were brought to justice, but all relations with the crown prince were rejected.