WASHINGTON — A US federal judge on Tuesday threw out a lawsuit against Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was working in the United States, bowing to the Biden administration’s insistence that the prince has legal immunity. if.

District of Columbia Judge John D. Bates accepted the arguments of the US government’s motion to protect the prince from a lawsuit despite what the judge described as “credible allegations of his involvement in the Khashoggi murder”. .

Khashoggi was assassinated by a group of Saudi officials inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018. Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post, had criticized the heavy hand of Prince Mohammed, Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, in his writings.

The US intelligence community concluded that the Saudi prince ordered the operation against Khashoggi. The assassination caused a rift between the Biden government and Saudi Arabia that Washington has tried to close in recent months, as the United States has unsuccessfully called on the kingdom to cancel its cuts to oil production due to the fallout from Ukraine’s war on the global market.

Khassoggi had entered the Saudi consulate in order to obtain the necessary documentation for his wedding. His fiancée Hatice Cengiz and a rights group created by Khashoggi before her death filed the lawsuit, in which she names two of the prince’s top aides as accomplices.

The Biden administration, which the judge invited — not ordered — to issue an opinion on the matter, declared last month that because of his position as Saudi Arabia’s prime minister, the prince has sovereign immunity from a lawsuit in the United States.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman had named his son, Prince Mohammed, prime minister weeks earlier. The decision was a temporary waiver in the kingdom’s government code that makes the king prime minister.

Khashoggi’s fiancée and the journalist’s rights group said the decision was a ploy to protect the prince in front of a US court.

Bates expressed concern about the circumstances of Prince Mohammed’s new title, writing in his Tuesday order that “there is a strong case that the plaintiffs’ claims against bin Salman and other defendants have merit.”

But, the judge wrote, the government’s conclusion that Prince Mohammed was immune left it no choice but to dismiss the prince as a defendant. He also dismissed the other two Saudi defendants, arguing that the US court lacked jurisdiction over them.

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