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Saudi Crown Prince Accused of Crimes Against Humanity

FILE - Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Media monitoring group Reporters Without Borders said Tuesday it had filed a criminal case with German prosecutors targeting the Saudi crown prince and others for the killing in Turkey of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The complaint alleges Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and several top aides not only committed crimes against humanity against Saudi-born journalist Jamal Khashoggi, but also are responsible for what they say is widespread and systematic persecution of journalists in Saudi Arabia.

The Paris-based Reporters Without Borders, or RSF, says it chose Germany because its laws allow prosecution for some crimes committed outside its borders.

RSF’s director of international campaigns, Rebecca Vincent, says the complaint also accuses the Saudi government of what it calls the arbitrary detention of dozens of journalists.

“We’re hoping that this will start to chip away at impunity for these sorts of horrific crimes against journalists, and not just in Saudi Arabia but elsewhere,” Vincent said. "So, if this German court does take action this could be truly game-changing in starting to chip away at that impunity.”

Khashoggi, who was a columnist for The Washington Post newspaper, was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018. Saudi Arabia denies the crown prince was involved and a Saudi court sentenced others for Khashoggi’s death.

Both the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and a U.N. special envoy have directly linked the crown prince to the killing. And the Biden administration recently released an unclassified intelligence report that concludes the crown prince, known as MBS, approved the operation to kill or capture the journalist.

“I think the publication of the U.S. intelligence report just (underscores) further actual detailed information about what happened and accountability,” Vincent said.

If the German court fails to take up the case, Vincent says RSF will continue to push for what it considers justice. A trial on Khashoggi’s death is ongoing in Istanbul, and RSF is an observer in the court.