21 Oct 2020

Fiancée of Khashoggi, human rights group sue Saudi crown prince in US

6:29 pm on 21 October 2020

The fiancée of slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and a human rights group that he founded filed a lawsuit in a US court with allegations that Saudi Arabia's crown prince ordered him killed.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attending the heavyweight boxing match between Andy Ruiz Jr. and Anthony Joshua for the IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO titles in Diriya, near the Saudi capital late on December 7, 2019.

Photo: AFP / Saudi Royal Palace/ Bandar al-Jaloud

The civil lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages against Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, also named more than 20 other Saudis as defendants. It coincides with complications in the US-Saudi relationship over the 2018 slaying of Khashoggi, Riyadh's human rights record, its role in Yemen's civil war and other issues.

The Saudi embassy did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit. The crown prince - known by his initials MbS - has denied ordering Khashoggi's murder.

File photo from 2014 of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi attending a press conference in the Bahraini capital Manama.

Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi Photo: AFP / Mohammed Al-Shaikh

Khashoggi, who criticised 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 Hatice Cengiz, a Turkish citizen.

Cengiz and Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), a US-based human rights group founded by Khashoggi, a legal resident of Virginia, filed the lawsuit in US District Court for the District of Columbia. It names several of the crown prince's aides and officials who were convicted in Saudi Arabia of the murder. The prosecution declared the Saudi case closed.

Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi's fiance and plaintiff Hatice Cengiz speaks to media after testifying in the trial of 20 Saudi nationals over the 2018 killing of Khashoggi, in Istanbul, Turkey on July 03, 2020.

Hatice Cengiz Photo: Anadolu Agency / Elif Ozturk

The lawsuit charged 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 US 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 US court actions against foreign officials over allegations of involvement in torture or extrajudicial killings.

- Reuters

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