“It is necessary to know the truth but it is not enough; those responsible (for the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi) must be tried and punished, hence the importance of this complaint.
These are the words of Hatice Cengiz, girlfriend of the murdered journalist , in the during the international press conference where the organization Reporters without Borders (RSF) announced the filing of a complaint with the Attorney General of Germany against Saudi Crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman , and other Saudi senior officials for crimes against humanity.
The complaint exposes the widespread and systematic nature of the persecution of journalists in Saudi Arabia and, in particular, the arbitrary detention of 34 of them, in addition to the murder of Khashoggi, which shocked the world.
The complaint, a document of more than 500 pages in German against five accused of crimes against humanity , reports the cases of 35 Saudi journalists: that of the murdered Saudi columnist Jamal Khashoggi and those of 34 journalists who have been imprisoned in the country, of whom 33 are currently in prison and including the blogger Raif Badawi .
The presentation of the complaint comes a few days after the US released an intelligence services report with the conclusion that the Saudi crown prince is fully involved in the organization of the journalist’s murder , carried out by hitmen in the Saudi Arabian embassy in Istanbul.
However, RSF has described this temporal affinity as a mere coincidence since the half thousand pages of documentation of the complaint have been elaborated for a long time.
The complaint identifies five main suspects – Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, his close adviser Saud Al-Qahtani and three other senior Saudi officials – for their responsibility in organizing or executing Khashoggi’s assassination, as well as for their participation in the development of a State policy aimed at attacking and silencing journalists.
“Those responsible for the persecution of journalists in Saudi Arabia, and especially the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, must answer for their crimes,” said RSF Secretary General Christophe Deloireto add: “As these serious crimes against journalists continue to be committed, we ask the German Public Prosecutor to act and open an investigation into the crimes we have revealed.
No one should be above the law, especially when it comes to crimes against humanity. The urgent need for justice has only delayed, “he added.” The official opening of a criminal investigation in Germany into crimes against humanity in Saudi Arabia would be a pioneering initiative worldwide, “says the director of RSF Germany. , Christian Mihr
“We ask the Attorney General to carry out a situation analysis with a view to officially initiating a prosecutorial investigation and arrest warrants,” he adds.
RSF considers that the German judicial system is the most suitable for filing a complaint of this type, since German laws give it jurisdiction over major international crimes committed abroad, and also because German courts have already demonstrated their willingness and willingness. to prosecute international criminals.
Furthermore, the German Government has repeatedly expressed strong interest in achieving justice in the cases of Jamal Khashoggi and Raif Badawi , and Germany has demonstrated its commitment to defending press freedom and protecting journalists around the world. Jamal khashoggihe was assassinated at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018.
The Saudi authorities officially recognized that the murder was committed by Saudi agents, but refused to take any responsibility for what they called an “act of thugs”. Some of the agents involved in the operation were prosecuted and convicted in Saudi Arabia during a closed-door trial that violated all international standards for a fair trial.
As for the main suspects, they remain totally out of the reach of justice, apart from the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed Bin Salman, who is suspected of directly ordering the murder of Khashoggi and is the main person responsible for the persecution of journalists in Saudi Arabia, the other four suspects listed in the complaint are: Saud Al-Qahtani, a close adviser to the crown prince who participated directly in the planning and execution of the assassination, as well as in the implementation of the policy of persecuting journalists in Saudi Arabia.
Ahmad Mohammed Asiri, (former) deputy director of intelligence and suspected of supervising the murder; Mohammad Al-Otaibi, Consul General in Istanbul at the time of the assassination, and Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, an intelligence official who led the team that tortured, killed and made Jamal Khashoggi disappear during the two years that have followed Khashoggi’s assassinationRSF has deployed extensive mobilization efforts with the Saudi authorities in order to recover his body, achieve justice for his murder and release all journalists currently arbitrarily detained in Saudi Arabia.
However, the Saudi authorities have consistently failed to comply with their international obligations. Saudi Arabia is ranked 170th out of 180 countries in RSF’s World Press Freedom Index.