Saturday, September 30

Criticism of Macron for receiving Mohamed Bin Salmán despite the murder of Jamal Khashoggi

The president of France, Emmanuel Macron, has been criticized by human rights organizations for receiving the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohamed Bin Salman, this Thursday at the Elysee for a working dinner.

Turkey closes the case of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and leaves it in Saudi hands

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The organization Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has recalled the suspicions about the involvement of the crown prince in the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018. A report by the UN, the CIA and extensive journalistic investigations they accuse Bin Salmán of having ordered the murder of Khashoggi, the journalist of the Washington Post who was dismembered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018.

“Nearly four years after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Mohamed Bin Salman’s reintegration into international relations is nothing but a disregard for truth and justice,” said RSF Secretary General Christophe Deloire.

Deloire asked Macron to demand from the Saudi crown prince the release of the 27 journalists who are currently detained in that country and to allow the release of Raif Badawi, held after serving 10 years in prison and whose family awaits him in Canada.

“double standards”

Agnès Callamard, secretary general of Amnesty International, told the AFP agency that the prince’s meetings with Macron and, a few weeks ago, with the president of the United States, Joe Biden, “do not change the fact that [el príncipe Mohammed] He is nothing but a murderer.”

Callamard, who at the time of the murder was the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions and who led an independent investigation, said she was “deeply concerned about the visit, what it means for our world and what it means for Jamal.” [Khashoggi] and people like him.” The secretary general described the 36-year-old crown prince as a man who “does not tolerate dissent”.

The reception of Bin Salmán by world leaders is “all the more shocking since many of them expressed at the time their rejection and their commitment not to welcome him back into the international community,” Callamard added, and denounced the “double standards” and the “values… that are erased in the face of concern about the increase in the price of oil.”

The director of Human Rights Watch in France, Bénédicte Jeannerod, tweeted that Bin Salman could “apparently count on Emmanuel Macron to rehabilitate him on the international stage despite the heinous murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the ruthless crackdown on all criticism by the Saudi authorities, and the war crimes in Yemen.”

Last year, RSF filed a lawsuit in Germany against Bin Salman for Khashoggi’s murder, considering the country’s judicial system more appropriate for this type of complaint.

This Thursday, two foreign NGOs, Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN) and Trial International also announced that they had filed a lawsuit in French justice against the Saudi crown prince for complicity in torture and enforced disappearance. The complainants consider that Bin Salmán does not enjoy immunity because he is the heir and not the head of state.

“Absolute need” to dialogue

The president of the “macronista” parliamentary group in the National Assembly, Aurore Bergé, justified the visit with the argument that “dialogue with all the Gulf countries is an absolute necessity”, while she considered that “this does not mean forgetting essential issues in terms of values ​​and human rights.

Speaking to France Info radio, Bergé said that Macron “has to receive certain interlocutors” and recalled that Biden himself recently traveled to Riyadh, which demonstrates “the need to maintain a deep dialogue with the countries of the Persian Gulf”.

The French Presidency announced this Thursday that this meeting will take place around half past eight in the afternoon. Only Macron’s reception of honor for Bin Salmán and his team at the Elysee will be accessible to reporters, although only cameras and photographers will be allowed to take pictures and no statement is planned.

The Elysée did not disclose the points on the work agenda either, although energy, the fight against terrorism and human rights are expected to be on the table.

Since the murder of journalist Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018 and the US report linking Bin Salman to the crime, Western leaders have avoided Bin Salman for several years until in December 2021 Macron himself broke the ice visiting Riyadh.

Later, other Western leaders did the same, such as the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and, just a couple of weeks ago, the President of the United States, Joe Biden. Now the crown prince, popularly known by the acronym MBS, will also visit Greece during his short European tour.