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Press watchdog files suit against Saudi prince over Khashoggi

The criminal suit alleges systematic persecution of Khashoggi - who was murdered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018- and dozens of other journalists.

FILE: Journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Khashoggi, a contributor to 'The Washington Post', vanished on 2 October during a visit to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Picture: AFP

PARIS - Reporters Without Borders said Tuesday that it has asked a German court to investigate "crimes against humanity" by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over the grisly killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The criminal suit, which seeks an inquiry by prosecutors under Germany's international jurisdiction laws, alleges systematic persecution of Khashoggi - who was murdered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018 - as well as dozens of other journalists.

It comes after Washington released a declassified intelligence report last week which concluded that Prince Mohammed personally approved the killing of Khashoggi, a US-based contributor to The Washington Post.

Saudi officials denounced the report, insisting that Khashoggi was killed in a "rogue operation" by a Saudi hit squad that did not involve the crown prince.

But Reporters Without Borders said it had gathered evidence of a "state policy to attack and silence journalists," which it submitted to the Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe, Germany, on Monday.

Its report details the cases of 34 other journalists who have been jailed in Saudi Arabia, including the blogger Raif Badawi, who has been imprisoned in his home country since 2012 on charges of "insulting Islam."

"We call on the German prosecutor to take a stand," Christophe Deloire, secretary- general of the media watchdog known by its French abbreviation RSF, said in a statement.

"No one should be above international law, especially when crimes of humanity are at stake," he said.

Contacted by AFP, the court in Karlsruhe confirmed it had received the complaint but declined to comment further.

Last week, a court in Koblenz applied the principle of universal jurisdiction to convict a former Syrian intelligence agent for complicity in crimes against humanity, the first court case worldwide over state-sponsored torture by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government.

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