On March 1st Reporters Without Borders announced their filing of a criminal complaint with the German Public Prosecutor General against Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and other high-ranking Saudi officials for crimes against humanity.
The complaint itself details the systemic targeting and prosecution of journalists in Saudi Arabia, with a focus on 34 cases of the arbitrary detention of journalists and the brutal assassination of Jamal Khashoggi. According to RSF, “the complaint identifies five primary suspects: Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed Bin Salman, his close advisor Saud Al-Qahtani, and three other high-ranking Saudi officials for their organisational or executive responsibility in Khashoggi’s killing, as well as their involvement in developing a state policy to attack and silence journalists.”
It follows the ODNI’s publication of a declassified CIA report detailing the decision-making role that the Crown Prince has played in crimes against journalists in Saudi Arabia.
RSF chose Germany to file the complaint, since its legislation lends them jurisdiction over serious international crimes that have been committed outside the country’s borders. We have seen the success of this already with the recent conviction in German courts of a former Syrian intelligence officer for crimes against humanity.
RSF’s engagement in strategic litigation is a pioneering move for press freedom organisations countering the systemic treatment of journalists within the Saudi regime. Crimes against journalists have consistently been left unpunished, particularly with Saudi Arabia, where the Crown Prince has enjoyed impunity for far too long.
The Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation supports RSF in their fight for justice for Jamal Khashoggi and for journalists in Saudia Arabia, and in their ongoing goals in the protection of press freedom. We await the following actions of the German Public Prosecutor General in response to this complaint and hope to see long awaited justice finally served.