Saudi Crown Prince Sued in US Court Over 2018 Murder

Jamal Khashoggi's fiancee says he saw the journalist as an 'existential threat'
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 20, 2020 12:46 PM CDT
Khashoggi's Fiancee Sues Saudi Crown Prince in US Court
Hatice Cengiz, the fiancee of slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, attends the 16th Zurich Film Festival in Zurich, Switzerland, Friday, Oct. 2, 2020.   (Alexandra Wey/Keystone via AP)

Jamal Khashoggi's fiancee has sued Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in US federal court over the death of the Saudi journalist. Hatice Cengiz, along with the human rights organization founded by Khashoggi, allege in the suit that Khashoggi's torture, death, and dismemberment came at the "directive of Defendant Mohammed bin Salman." More than 20 co-defendants are named. As for the US filing, the suit states that the crown prince and others "saw Khashoggi’s actions in the United States as an existential threat to their pecuniary and other interests and, accordingly, conspired to commit the heinous acts that are the subject of this suit." The Washington Post reports that's a key assertion: For a US judge to have jurisdiction in the case, the suit must establish Khashoggi's death resulted from events that took place on US soil.

To that end, Cengiz and Democracy for the Arab World Now (Dawn) allege in the suit that Saudi officials warned Khashoggi not to tweet, write, or talk after he criticized President-elect Trump in a November 2016 tweet; he was murdered Oct. 2, 2018. The Wall Street Journal reports that while the suit seeks unspecified monetary damages, it also "represents an effort to maintain public scrutiny of Mr. Khashoggi’s killing." Attorneys for Cengiz and Dawn say the aim is to establish that Mohammed is liable for the murder—something he has denied, with officials claiming overly zealous agents killed Khashoggi at the country's consulate in Istanbul despite orders to bring him to Saudi Arabia alive—and to access documents in both countries that relate to the death. The CIA, for its part, determined the directive did come from Mohammed. (More Jamal Khashoggi stories.)

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