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The New Arab Staff

Saudi crown prince served with lawsuit over Khashoggi killing

The lawsuit against Mohammed bin Salman will be heard by a US court [Getty]

Date of publication: 20 March, 2021

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A lawsuit filed by Jamal Khashoggi’s fiancée and a US-based NGO has been served to Saudi strongman Mohammed bin Salman, paving the way for it to be heard in court.

An advocacy group successfully served Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman with a legal complaint over the killing of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi on Friday, five months after filing a lawsuit against him in a US court.

Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), a US based non-profit organization founded by Khashoggi himself, and Hatice Cengiz, Khashoggi’s fiancée, jointly served the legal documents to Bin Salman, who is widely considered to be Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler.

DAWN said on its website that serving the documents to the Saudi strongman would pave the way for the lawsuit to be heard by a US court.

Read more: Jamal Khashoggi's legacy - A vision worth defending

The documents were served through the messaging service WhatsApp, and through publication in The New York Times and Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspapers after a US judge approved these methods of communication.

DAWN’s lawsuit claims that bin Salman and other Saudi officials "acting in a conspiracy and with premeditation, kidnapped, bound, drugged and tortured, and assassinated U.S.-resident journalist and democracy advocate Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey."

Last month, the US administration declassified a US intelligence report saying that Bin Salman personally approved Khashoggi’s gruesome murder.

The report pointed out that it was “highly unlikely” that Saudi intelligence would kill Khashoggi without orders from bin Salman, who it said had a pattern of “support for using violent measures to silence dissidents abroad.”

President Biden, however, has ruled out the possibility of the US administration imposing sanctions against the Saudi strongman for his likely role in Khashoggi’s death.

Sarah Leah Witson, DAWN’s executive director, said, "While MBS [Mohammed bin Salman] may have evaded sanctions by our government for his role in the murder, he won't evade prosecution by our judicial system for the damage he has caused us and Cengiz."

The lawsuit names 21 other individuals in addition to the Saudi crown prince, including his adviser, Saud Al-Qahtani.

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