Media watchdog files criminal complaint against Saudi crown prince in Germany over Khashoggi killing

Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 March 2021 (17:24 IST)
(RSF) on Tuesday said it had filed a criminal complaint against with Germany’s federal public prosecutor’s office. The complaint pertains to his role in the assassination of journalist and the detention of other media professionals.

The complaint, filed on Monday at one of the country’s top courts in Karlsruhe, accuses bin Salman of crimes against humanity, additionally for the arbitrary detention of 34 journalists.
 
Thirty-three of the journalists listed in the 500-page document are still currently in detention, including blogger Raif Badawi, the creator of the website Free Saudi Liberals.
 
“The official opening of a criminal investigation in into the crimes against humanity in Saudi Arabia would be a world first,” said Germany Director Christian Mihr in a statement. “We ask the Public Prosecutor General to open a situation analysis, with a view to formally launching a prosecutorial investigation and issuing arrest warrants.”
 
Complaint names several Saudi officials
 
“In Saudi Arabia, journalists, who are a civilian population according to international law, are victims of widespread and systematic attacks for political reasons in furtherance of a state policy aimed at punishing or silencing them,” an RSF statement said. “The five suspects identified in the complaint are fully responsible.”
 
The complaint identifies four primary suspects in addition to bin Salman, including the crown prince’s close advisor Saud al-Qahtani and three other high-ranking Saudi officials.
 
RSF cited the German Code of Crimes Against International Law (VStGB), under which the organization says the specified journalists are victims of multiple counts of crimes against humanity, “including willful killing, torture, sexual violence and coercion, enforced disappearance, unlawful deprivation of physical liberty, and persecution.”
 
“The 35 cases detailed in the complaint reveal a system that threatens the life and liberty of any journalist in Saudi Arabia - in particular those who speak out publicly against the Saudi government,” RSF said.