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Crimes against humanity: Reporters Without Borders indict Crown Prince and other Saudi officials for murder and persecution

It is a novelty, as Reporters Without Borders report: On March 1, 2021 RSF (Reporters Without Borders international) filed a criminal complaint with the German Attorney General of the Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe, in which a litany of crimes against humanity against journalists in Saudi Arabia was performed. The complaint, a document with over 500 pages in German, deals with 35 cases of journalists: the murdered Saudi columnist Jamal Khashoggi and 34 journalists imprisoned in Saudi Arabia, including 33 currently in custody - among them blogger Raif Badawi.

According to the German Code of Crimes against International Law (VStGB), the complaint shows that these journalists are victims of several crimes against humanity, including willful killing, torture, sexual violence and coercion, enforced disappearances, and illegal imprisonment and persecution.

The complaint identified five main suspects: the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed Bin Salman, his close adviser Saud Al-Qahtani and three other senior Saudi officials for their organizational or executive responsibility in the assassination of Khashoggi and for their involvement in developing a state policy to attack and silence journalists. These prime suspects will be named without prejudice to any other person who the investigation may identify as responsible for these crimes against humanity.

Those responsible for the prosecution of journalists in Saudi Arabia, including the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, must be held accountable for their crimes. While these serious crimes against journalists continue unabated, we call on the German public prosecutor to take a stand and initiate an investigation into the crimes we have uncovered. Nobody should be above international law, especially when it comes to crimes against humanity. The urgent need for justice is long overdue.

RSF Secretary-General, Christophe Deloire

RSF found that the German judiciary is the most appropriate system to receive such a complaint, as they are responsible under German law for core international crimes committed abroad and the German courts have already shown willingness to prosecute international criminals. In addition, the federal government has repeatedly expressed its keen interest in justice in the Jamal Khashoggi and Raif Badawi cases, and Germany has expressed its commitment to defending press freedom and protecting journalists around the world.

Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018. The Saudi authorities officially recognized that the murder was committed by Saudi agents but refused to accept responsibility for it. Some of the agents involved in the operation were prosecuted and convicted in Saudi Arabia while in secret Attempt that violated all international fair trial standards. The prime suspects remain completely immune to justice.

Saudi Arabia ranks 170th out of 180 countries in RSF's World Press Freedom Index.

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Photos: Reporters Without Borders int.

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