Wed. Apr 21st, 2021

By John Irish and Raya Jalabi

PARIS (Reuters) – Global media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has accused Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia and several top officials of committing crimes against humanity in a criminal complaint lodged in Germany.

The 500-page complaint filed Monday with the German Public Prosecutor General in Karlsruhe federal court includes arbitrary detention of more than 30 journalists and allegations of the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul in 2018.

Prince Mohammed denied any involvement in Khashogi’s murder. Other Saudi figures named in the RSF filing could not be reached for comment and the Saudi government’s media office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“Responsible for the harassment of journalists in Saudi Arabia, including the killing of Jamal Khashogi, should be held responsible for their crimes,” RSF Secretary General Christoph Delaur said in a statement.

The RSF said that it filed the lawsuit in Germany because of the principle of its universal jurisdiction, allowing its courts to prosecute crimes against humanity anywhere, and other names could be added to the complaint at a later stage Huh.

The German prosecutor’s office and the Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Other officers named in the RSF complaint were Saud al-Katani, who was seen as the right-hand man of the Crown Prince; Ahmed Mohammed al-Assiri, a former royal court advisor; Maihar Abdulaziz Mutreb, a general; And Mohammed al-Otabi of Saudi Istanbul at the time of Khashogi’s assassination.

The filing occurred last Friday following the publication of an undisclosed intelligence assessment by the United States, which concluded that Prince Mohammed approved the operation to “kill or apprehend” Khashogi.

Washington also announced visa restrictions on some Saudis who believe they were involved in the killing and impose sanctions on others.

Saudi Arabia said it completely rejected the “negative, inaccurate and unacceptable” intelligence assessment.

(Reporting by John Irish in Paris and Raya Jalabi in Dubai; Additional reporting by Aziz El Yaqoubi in Dubai and Riham Alkoussa in Berlin, written by Raya Jalabi, editing by Timothy Heritage)

Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.

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