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‘Stain on Queen’s memory’: Planned visit of Saudi crown prince condemned – The Guardian | Gmx Pharm

Mohammed bin Salman’s plan to land in London on Sunday to pay his respects to the Queen has been condemned by Hatice Cengiz and other human rights defenders as “dirt” in the monarch’s memory and an attempt by the Saudi crown prince to use grief to “search for.” Legitimacy and Normalization”.

Cengiz, who was engaged to Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi journalist who was killed and dismembered by Saudi agents at the Istanbul consulate in 2018, said she wished Prince Mohammed would be arrested for murder when he lands in London, but said she feared that Britain’s authorities would turn a blind eye to serious and credible allegations against the future king.

A source has told the Guardian that Prince Mohammed will travel to the UK to deliver his kingdom’s condolences to the royal family, although there has been no confirmation or information as to whether he would attend the funeral service at Westminster Abbey. CNN Arabic first reported the news on Thursday evening.

A declassified US intelligence report in 2021 revealed that the operation to kill or kidnap Khashoggi was authorized by Prince Mohammed. The intelligence report said its assessment was based on the crown prince’s “control of decision-making” in the kingdom, the “direct involvement of a key adviser and members of the crown prince.” [the prince’s] Protection Detail” and his “support for the use of force” to silence dissidents like Khashoggi. The crown prince denies that he was personally involved in the planning of the murder.

“The death of the Queen is a really sad occasion,” Cengiz said. “The Crown Prince should not be allowed to share in this mourning and soil her memory and use this time of mourning to seek legitimacy and normalization.”

The news that the Saudi heir to the throne would travel to London for the first time since 2018 drew dismay from some Saudis in exile, including Abdullah Alaoudh, a prominent Washington-based Saudi dissident who served as research director of Dawn, a Khashoggi-founded non- Profit organization promoting democracy in the Middle East.

Alaoudh said Prince Mohammed’s trip came as Saudi Arabia cracked down “harder and harder” on human rights defenders at home, including the recent arrest of a 34-year-old Leeds University doctoral student named Salma al-Shehab, who was arrested on a holiday trip home to the UK and sentenced to 34 years in prison for using Twitter.

“He is encouraged to travel the world in the wake of the Khashoggi affair as a result of the dedicated rehabilitation process – whether they call it that or not – by Western leaders,” Alaoudh said, noting the visits to the kingdom by Boris Johnson and Joe Biden.

In its report, CNN Arabic said Prince Mohammed would not attend the funeral. Alaoudh, whose father is a well-known reformist cleric who faces the death penalty in Saudi Arabia, said he believes the decision likely reflects the crown prince’s fragile ego because, Alaoudh said, he likely did not want to attend a funeral who he could not sit prominently.

“He would sit behind other powerful figures,” Alaoudh said. “But MBS wants full recognition of its power, of its existence, to get in the front row. He cares deeply about these symbols and doesn’t want to be humiliated.”

Another activist, Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, the UK-based advocacy director of the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, said: “Authoritarian dictators should not use the Queen’s death as an opportunity to try to rehabilitate their image while they are repressive.” Campaigns in their country are escalating countries.”

Agnes Callamard, the secretary-general of Amnesty International, which previously investigated Khashoggi’s murder and whose life was allegedly threatened by a senior Saudi official, said Prince Mohammed’s plan to pay his respects was reminiscent of the murder of the Washington journalist Post, whose own family “were denied the right to bury Jamal with the dignity he deserves”. Saudi Arabia has denied ever intending to threaten Callamard.

The crown prince’s visit follows years of reports since Khashoggi’s assassination that critics of the kingdom living abroad were being monitored and threatened by Saudi authorities, including in Britain.

A British judge ruled last month that a case against the kingdom brought by a dissident satirist who has been targeted with spyware could continue, in a decision that has been hailed as a precedent.

The case against Saudi Arabia was brought by Ghanem Almasarir, a prominent satirist who has been granted asylum in the UK and is a frequent critic of the Saudi royal family. The case centers on allegations that Saudi Arabia ordered Almasarir’s phone to be hacked and that he was physically assaulted by Kingdom agents in London in 2018.

Saudi Arabia’s attempt to have the case dismissed on the grounds that it had sovereign immunity protections under the State Immunity Act 1978 was dismissed by a Supreme Court judge, who found that Almasarir had presented enough evidence to be considered inferring the likelihood that Saudi Arabia was responsible for the alleged attack. Saudi Arabia’s claim that the case was too weak or too speculative to proceed was dismissed.

Updated: September 17, 2022 — 12:32 am

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