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Jamal Khashoggi

Jamal KhashoggiThe maxim rex non potest peccare [the king can do no wrong] is not to be presumed that the king will do or sanction anything contrary to law, to which he is subject. But if an evil act is done, it, though emanating from the king personally, will be imputed to his ministers, for whose acts the king is in no way responsible. Under English law, the king was himself subject to the law, but stated that there was no remedy against the king, except by petition, unless "gross violations" of the law were committed, in which case the people need not wait for the ultimate judgment of God, but might themselves have judgment upon him, and might take action in the court of the king himself. But if Henry III had been capable of being sued he would have passed his life as defendant.

The theory of the divine right of kings lent support to the proposition that the king was above the law-that he was in fact the law-giver appointed by God, and therefore could not be subjected to the law. In Blackstone's Commentaries the following is to be found: "Besides the attribute of sovereignty, the law also ascribes to the king in his political capacity absolute perfection. The king can do no wrong: ... The king, moreover, is not only incapable of doing wrong, but even of thinking wrong: he can never mean to do an improper thing: in him is no folly or weakness." Thus the doctrine developed, humble in its origins, but lethal in its final implications.

Removing Khashoggi in such a visible way is a signal to other opposition activists that this is how you will end up if you dare to criticize the rule of Mohammed bin Salman and the Saudi leadership. Many of the reforms bin Salman made had not been popular with some traditionalist circles of Saudi society and this has made him a lot of enemies domestically.

Prince Khalid bin Farhan al-Saud lives as a dissident in exile in Germany. He and his family are under the protection of the German state. Khalid bin Farhan has been advocating reforms in Saudi Arabia for years. Prince Khalid bin Farhan al-Saud accused Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of being behind the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. He currently lives in exile in Germany. "It is well known that opposition voices who were kidnapped from Europe had their fates sealed by orders from the king. The more prominent dissidents were personally punished by order of the king. It is the king who gives the orders. It is the same with Jamal Khashoggi, the world-renowned journalist from The Washington Post. When such an act is carried out, naturally it requires the consent of the head of government. I could not say that King Salman is directly involved but I believe the decision and the implementation of the killing leads to his son, Mohammed."

On 20 October 2018 Saudi King Salman directed the formation of ministerial committee headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to restructure the kingdom’s General Intelligence Presidency. “Based on what has been submitted by His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the Crown Prince and President of the Council of Political and Security Affairs to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud on the urgent need to restructure the General Intelligence Presidency and modernize its regulations and regulations as well as to determine its authorities and assess the procedures and powers governing its work with its administrative and hierarchical sequence in order to ensure the proper functioning of its work and the determination of responsibilities,” a statement on Saudi Press Agency read.

The ministerial committee will be chaired by the Crown Prince and a number of members of the Council of Political and Security Affairs namely: Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Naif bin Abdulaziz, the Minister of Interior; Dr. Mousaed Al-Aiban; Dr. Ibrahim Al-Assaf; Minister of Foreign Affairs; President of General Intelligence and President of the State Security. The Committee shall submit the results of its work within one month of its issue date.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman issued a royal order relieving Ahmed al-Assiri of his post as deputy intelligence chief. Saudi Royal Court Advisor Saud al-Qahtani was also relieved of his post. The royal decree also ordered the dismissal of a number of officers working in the general intelligence agency.

Al-Asiri had served as an adviser to bin Salman, who promoted him to his intelligence position last year, and is considered to be one of MBS' closest aides. He is "a key figure within the royal household, a very senior figure," Al Jazeera's Andrew Simmons reported from Istanbul, following the announcement. "He has been fingered by the royal household as being partly to blame for this."

An official source quoted by Saudi Press Agency confirmed that Saudi Arabia is taking all the necessary measures to clarify the truth into the Jamal Khashoggi case and emphasized that it would be holding all those involved accountable. “In implementing the directives of the leadership of the need to clearly know the truth and declare it transparently, the preliminary investigations conducted by the Public Prosecution showed that the suspects had travelled to Istanbul to meet with the citizen Jamal Khashoggi as there were indications of the possibility of his returning back to the country,” the source said.

“The results of the preliminary investigations also revealed that the discussions that took place with the citizen Jamal Khashoggi during his presence in the Consulate of the Kingdom in Istanbul by the suspects did not go as required and developed in a negative way which led to a fight and a quarrel between some of them and the citizen Jamal Khashoggi. Yet the brawl aggravated and lead to his death and their attempt to conceal and cover what happened,” the source added.

The source added that while the investigations are still ongoing into the case with the 18 Saudi suspects, Saudi Arabia said it expresses its deep regret at the painful developments that have taken place and stresses the commitment of the authorities to bring the facts to the public opinion and to hold all those involved accountable and bring them to justice by referring them to the competent courts in Saudi Arabia.

The case of journalist Jamal Khashoggi took place on Saudi sovereign territory and that it will be looked at by Saudi courts when all procedures are complete, according to Saudi Arabia's justice minister in a statement via the Saudi Press Agency. Minister of Justice and Chairman of the Supreme Judicial Council Sheikh Dr. Waleed bin Mohammad al-Samaani stressed that the judiciary enjoys full independence in the case of journalist Jamal Kashoggi, pointing out the case will take its regular course in Saudi Arabia and will reach the judiciary once all procedures are completed.

Marwan Kabalan, director of policy and analysis at the Doha-based Arab Center for Research & Policy Studies, said the uproar sparked by the killing of Khashoggi posed the "most serious diplomatic crisis for Saudi Arabia since September 11 [2001]". Kabalan told Al Jazeera "The [Saudi's] story will not be convincing to many people; it's very difficult to believe the hit squad that arrived in Istanbul came to have a discussion with Khashoggi".

Saudi Arabia's crown prince had no knowledge of the specific operation that resulted in the death of Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul, a Saudi official familiar with the investigation told Reuters on 19 October 2018. "There were no orders for them to kill him or even specifically kidnap him," said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity and adding that there was a standing order to bring critics of the kingdom back to the country. "MBS had no knowledge of this specific operation and certainly did not order a kidnapping or murder of anybody. He will have been aware of the general instruction to tell people to come back," the source said, using the initials of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Khashoggi was from a powerful and well-known family in Saudi Arabia. He was the grandson of Muhammad Khashoggi, a Turkish doctor who married a Saudi woman and served as the personal physician for King Abdulaziz Al Saud, the founder of the kingdom. Jamal Khashoggi was the nephew of Adnan Khashoggi, a Saudi businessman and arms dealer known for his part in the Iran-Contra scandal. Adnan Khashoggi was the middleman in the arms-for-hostages deal. In the 1980s, Adnan Khashoggi was estimated to have a net worth of $4 billion. Jamal Khashoggi's cousin, Dodi Fayed was dating Britain's Princess Diana when the two were killed in a car crash in Paris in 1997.

He went into a self-imposed exile in the United States in 2017, fearing for his safety after Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman began consolidating his position and cracking down on critics. He told Al Jazeera TV's Upfront in March 2018 that he left the kingdom "because I don't want to be arrested." Khashoggi disappeared on 02 October 2018 after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul seeking marriage documents. The Washington Post newspaper reported on 2018 October 2018 that the Turkish government had informed US officials about audio and video recordings suggesting that a Saudi security team detained Khashoggi after he entered the consulate, then murdered him and dismembered his body.

The CIA believes Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul, US media and news wires reported on 16 November 2018, complicating President Donald Trump's efforts to preserve ties with a key US ally. The CIA's finding, first reported by the Washington Post, was the most definitive US assessment to date tying Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler directly to the killing.

The Post, citing people familiar with the matter, said the CIA reached its conclusions after examining multiple sources of intelligence, including a phone call that the prince's brother, Khalid bin Salman, the Saudi ambassador to the United States, had with Khashoggi. Khalid told Khashoggi he should go to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to retrieve the documents and gave him assurances that it would be safe to do so, the Post said.

The State Department on 17 November 2018 said the United States government has not made a final conclusion on who was involved in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. “Recent reports indicating that the US government has made a final conclusion are inaccurate,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement. Nauert said the State Department will continue to seek facts and work with other countries to hold those involved in the journalist’s killing accountable “while maintaining the important strategic relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia.”

Asked in a Fox interview 18 November 2018 if the crown prince lied to him about his involvement, Trump replied, "I don't know. Who can really know? But I can say this, he's got many people... that say he had no knowledge." Trump added, "He told me that he had nothing to do with it. He told me that, I would say, maybe five times at different points, as recently as a few days ago." Trump conceded that people close to the prince "were probably involved." But he said, "I want to stick with an ally that in many ways has been very good."

American Media Institute CEO Richard Miniter said, “I doubt that even the terrible swift swords of the executioners will be dramatic enough to satisfy the American and European critics of the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.”

Carol E. Lee, Julia Ainsley and Courtney Kube at NBC News reported 15 November 2018 that the White House was looking for ways to remove exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen in an attempt to persuade Erdogan to ease pressure on the Saudi government over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Erdogan kept the pressure up by leaking pieces of evidence and repeatedly speaking out to accuse Prince Mohammed of orchestrating the murder of Khashoggi. Juan Cole wrote "It is of course the ultimate in shamelessness for Trump to have a US green card holder sent to the gallows in Turkey in order to cover up the murder of another US green card holder murdered in the Saudi consulate."

After a closed-door briefing by CIA Director Gina Haspel on 04 December 2018, top US senators said there is "zero chance" Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) wasn't involved in the murder of Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi. "The views that I had before have only solidified," said Senator Bob Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who has called for a strong US reaction to Khashoggi's death and backs legislation to end all US support for the Saudi coalition waging war in Yemen.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham told reporters, "You have to be willfully blind not to come to the conclusion that this was orchestrated and organised by people under the command of MBS." He added that it appeared the Trump administration does not want to recognise evidence of the crown prince's complicity.

Republican Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, echoed the comments, saying he had zero doubt in his mind that Prince Mohammed ordered and monitored the killing of Khashoggi. He added that if the crown prince were put on trial, a jury would find him guilty in "about 30 minutes".

The comments came after Haspel briefed top Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Armed Services, Foreign Relations, Appropriations and Intelligence committees. Other senators were also present.

The Riyadh Criminal Court announced 08 September 2020 prison sentences for eight defendants in the slaying of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, state media reported Monday, in a trial criticised by international human rights groups. Saudi state TV revealed few details about the final verdicts issued against the Saudi nationals, whose names were not made public. The verdicts came after Khashoggi's sons said in May that they had "pardoned" the killers, sparing five of the convicted individuals from execution. The court ordered a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for five of the accused. Another received a 10-year sentence and two others were ordered to serve seven years in prison. The trial was widely criticised by rights groups and an independent UN investigator, who noted that no senior officials nor anyone suspected of ordering the killing was found guilty. The independence of the court was also brought into question.

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Page last modified: 30-07-2021 18:10:18 ZULU