Human Rights Groups Criticize French President Emmanuel Macron for Hosting Saudi Crown Prince

Human rights groups criticized French President Emmanuel Macron for hosting Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for talks in Paris on July 28, nearly four years after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Macron welcomed the prince, universally known as MBS, at the Elysee Palace with a long handshake before they were due to hold a working dinner together.

Amnesty International Secretary-General Agnes Callamard told AFP News that she was “profoundly troubled by the visit,” which “[does] not change the fact that MBS is anything other than a killer.”

Khashoggi’s fiancee Hatice Cengiz told AFP News that she was “scandalized and outraged that Emmanuel Macron is receiving with all the honors the executioner of my fiancee.”

A United Nations (UN) investigation described the murder of Khashoggi by Saudi agents at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018 as an “extrajudicial killing for which Saudi Arabia is responsible.”

United States agencies concluded that MBS had “approved” the operation that killed Khashoggi, but MBS denies this.

Hours before Marcon and MBS met in Paris, three campaign groups filed a criminal complaint in Paris under universal jurisdiction,  which allows states to try crimes against humanity, war crimes, and acts of torture committed outside its territory.

The Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), which Khashoggi founded in 2018, and Swiss campaign group Trial International, filed the complaint accusing MBS of “complicity in torture” and “enforced disappearance.”

The 42-page complaint, supported by the Open Society Justice Initiative, argued that MBS does not have diplomatic immunity.

“As a party to the UN Conventions against Torture and Enforced Disappearances, France is obliged to investigate a suspect such as MBS if he is present on French territory,” DAWN Executive Director Sarah Leah Whitson said in a statement.

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