The Biden administration has determined that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman should be granted immunity in a case brought by the fiancée of Jamal Khashoggi.
The court filing was made by Justice Department lawyers at the request of the State Department because bin Salman was recently made the Saudi prime minister and as a result, qualifies for immunity as a foreign head of government, the request said.
It was filed late Thursday night, just before the court’s deadline for the Justice Department to give its views in court on the immunity question and other arguments the prince made for having the lawsuit dismissed.
“Mohammed bin Salman, the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is the sitting head of government and, accordingly, is immune from this suit,” the filing reads, while calling the murder “heinous.”
The request is non-binding and a judge will ultimately decide whether to grant immunity.
The U.S. intelligence community concluded Saudi Arabia’s crown prince had approved the killing of the widely known and respected journalist, who had written critically of Prince Mohammed’s harsh ways of silencing of those he considered rivals or critics.
The State Department called the response “purely a legal determination.”