The Washington Post on Friday condemned the Biden administration’s determination that Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman should be granted immunity in a lawsuit filed against him for the 2018 slaying of Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Stating that President Joe Biden “is failing to uphold America’s cherished values,” the paper’s CEO and publisher Fred Ryan added that the president is “granting a license to kill to one of the world’s most egregious human-rights abusers who is responsible for the cold-blooded murder of Jamal Khashoggi.”
Calling Saudi Arabia’s decision to make MBS prime minister a “calculated effort to manipulate the law and shield him from accountability,” Ryan blasted Biden for “going along with this scheme” and “turning his back on fundamental principles of press freedom and equality.”
The Post joins other human rights groups and Khashoggi’s fiancée Hatice Cengiz, who filed the lawsuit, in slamming the administration’s actions. “Jamal died again today,” Cengiz tweeted on Thursday. Biden had already faced backlash this past summer after meeting personally with bin Salman (and sharing an infamous fist bump) despite previously saying he would make Saudi Arabia a “pariah” state.
The American president is “going along with the scheme,” the Post’s publisher added, saying Biden was “turning his back on fundamental principals of press freedom and equality.”
Khashoggi, a Post journalist who resided in Virginia, was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018 and American intelligence agencies later concluded that Prince Mohammed had ordered the killing. The crown prince has denied involvement.
The U.S. State Department concluded this week that because the crown prince is now a sitting head of government of a foreign nation, he is legally immune from a lawsuit filed in 2020 by Khashoggi’s fiancee, Hatice Cengiz.