An official visit to Paris by the Saudi crown prince and the country’s de facto ruler Mohammed bin Salman turned sour when two groups filed criminal complaints against him for complicity in the murder of journalist Emad Khashoggi.
According to the whistleblowers, they have a legal basis because the heir to the throne, Mohamed bin Salman, is not entitled to the diplomatic immunity granted to heads of state.
Khashoggi, who was known as a critic of the Saudi monarchy and lived in the United States, was murdered in 2018 at the consulate general of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul under unclear circumstances. The Saudi crown prince previously denied that he had ordered Khashoggi’s murder, but later accepted political responsibility.
In connection with the visit, human rights organizations accused French President Emmanuel Macron of legitimizing the Saudi leader, whom they call a murderer.
In response to the accusations, the French presidential office issued a statement, according to which Macron will raise the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia at the meeting and demand the conviction of Khashoggi’s killers.
According to the statement, the French-Saudi summit is necessary because of soaring energy prices on the international markets, the food crisis that threatens the Middle East due to the Russo-Ukrainian war, and the concerns related to the Iranian nuclear program, all of which require urgent action.