World Khashoggia fiancée urges court to ignore Biden admin request for MBS immunity
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Hatice Cengiz, who was engaged to Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi prior to his death, is asking a federal court not to go along with the Biden administration's position that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has– particularly Cengiz's lawsuit accusing him of being liable for Khashoggi's death.
The administration's position is based on the State Department's determination that bin Salman – commonly known as MBS – has immunity as a head of state due to his position as Prime Minister ofCengiz, in a Tuesday court filing, claimed that this title was only conferred upon MBS so that we would be immune from her lawsuit.
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"Here, Plaintiffs contend that the scope of head-of-state immunity does not extend to situations in which foreign nations manipulate the jurisdiction of American court," Cengiz said in her filing, in which she noted that MBS became prime minister "six days before the deadline for the United States to submit its views on head-of-state immunity[.]"
"The Royal Order created an unexplained and unprecedented ‘exception’ to the Basic Law of Governance allowing MBS to be deemed Prime Minister," the filing said, adding that the same order "reaffirmed that the King would continue to chair the sessions of the Council of Ministers."
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Cengiz argued that due to the circumstances surrounding the order making MBS prime minister and because King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud still chairs the Council of Ministers sessions, MBS is not head of state in practice. Her filing stated that "all other provisions of the Basic Law of Governance—such as the King’s status as ‘ultimate arbiter’ over all branches of government—remain in place."
"The sole realistic explanation for these developments is that the King declared MBS to be Prime Minister to enable MBS to evade this Court’s jurisdiction," she continued.
Fox News reached out to thefor comment, but they did not immediately respond.
Khashoggi, an internationally known and respected journalist, was killed by Saudi officials Oct. 2, 2018 after publicly criticizing the crown prince's harsh methods of silencing his rivals or critics. It's believed he was dismembered, but his remains have not been found.
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According to The Associated Press, the U.S. intelligence community concluded the crown prince gave the approval for Khashoggi's killing, despite the country's claim that he was not directly involved.
Thecalled the decision to try to protect the Saudi crown prince from U.S. courts in Khashoggi's killing ‘purely a legal determination,’ citing ‘longstanding precedent,’ according to the AP. MBS and his attorneys responded to the administration's suggestion of immunity by calling for the lawsuit against him to be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.
Cengiz recognized that "courts have traditionally deferred to the State Department’s suggestions of immunity for foreign heads of state" and that "courts have stated that such determinations are ‘conclusive’ and ’determinative.'"
Nevertheless, she argued, the "sweeping language" in those cases "should not be interpreted to cover the unique facts of this case" because, in past cases, "there was no suggestion that the defendant was appointed to his office in order to manipulate the court’s jurisdiction."
Fox News' Elizabeth Pritchett and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
Judge dismisses Khashoggi lawsuit against Saudi prince; Biden granted him immunity .
By Dan Whitcomb (Reuters) -A federal judge in Washington on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit filed by the fiance of slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi against Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, citing President Biden's grant of immunity. U.S. District Judge John Bates suggested he was reluctant to throw out the lawsuit but had no choice given the Biden administration's decision. "Despite(Reuters) -A federal judge in Washington on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit filed by the fiance of slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi against Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, citing President Biden's grant of immunity.