The fiancée of the slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and a human rights group he founded filed a case in a US court on Tuesday with accusations that the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia ordered him killed.
The civil lawsuit seeking unspecified compensation against Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman also named more than 20 other Saudis as defendants. It coincides with complications in US-Saudi relations over the 2018 assassination of Khashoggi, Riyadh’s human rights record, its role in Yemen’s civil war and other issues.
The Saudi embassy did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the trial. The Crown Prince – known by his initials MbS – has denied ordering Khashoggi’s assassination.
Khashoggi, who criticized the policies of the Crown Prince, Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, in the Washington Post columns, was killed and separated at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. He went there to obtain papers he needed to marry Hatice Cengiz, a Turkish citizen.
Cengiz and Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), an American-based human rights group founded by Khashoggi, a legal resident of Virginia, filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. It mentions several of the Crown Prince’s aides and officials who were convicted in Saudi Arabia of the murder. The prosecution declared the Saudi case closed.
The trial accused MbS, his co-defendants and others of implementing a plan to “permanently silence Mr. Khashoggi” by the summer of 2018 after discovering his “plans to use DAWN as a platform to support democratic reform and promote human rights.”
A lawsuit was filed in August in a US court by a former Saudi Arabian official who accused the Crown Prince of sending a hit team to kill him in Canada, where he lives in exile.
Both trials were brought under a law that allowed U.S. lawsuits against foreign officials over allegations of involvement in torture or extrajudicial killings.