German experts said that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is facing huge political isolation due to his crimes and direct involvement in the murder of Khashoggi.
A report by the German website Deutsche Welle stated that although the Saudi authorities firmly rejected the US intelligence report on the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and their insistence that bin Salman had not been involved in the crime, they did not provide new data that would prove the CIA is wrong.
The report indicated that US President Joe Biden has announced, since his election campaign, a stricter approach towards the Kingdom that breaks with the policy of his predecessor, Donald Trump.
The publication of the classified CIA report translated those words into action.
However, the main suspect, Bin Salman, was not covered by the sanctions announced by the US administration, which led to mixed reactions.
As soon as the report was published, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken announced entry restrictions to 76 Saudi citizens.
The US Treasury Department also placed on the sanctions list the former Saudi deputy intelligence chief, Ahmed al-Asiri, and the elite unit that protects the crown prince.
Guido Steinberg, a German expert on the Middle East at the Foundation for Science and Policy, stated that “those directly involved in the Khashoggi assassination will now be isolated through sanctions.”
He stated that “they will not be able to leave Saudi Arabia easily for the West shortly. And everyone outside the Kingdom will carefully consider in the future whether they want to communicate with bin Salman. This is political isolation.”
“It will become challenging for bin Salman to manage politics outside the Kingdom after the publication of the CIA report. The crown prince has again become persona non grata,” he said.
The Green Party demanded information from the German government about whether Berlin had reported the CIA’s investigations into the Khashoggi case.
“The federal government must clarify whether the Americans have shared this information with the German authorities,” said the foreign policy spokesman for the Green Party in the German Bundestag.
The party called for the need to impose sanctions on Mohammed bin Salman within the framework of a new European human rights mechanism and to file a complaint before the International Criminal Court.
The opposition Green Party leader stressed that “Germany must make it clear to the Al Saud family that normalization of relations with it is not possible as long as there is a crown prince who cuts off his critics.”
For its part, the head of the Bundestag Human Rights Committee, Gide Jensen (the Free Liberal Party), called for personal sanctions against the Saudi crown prince.
However, the German Foreign Ministry affirmed that Berlin would not have “new assessments or conclusions” on this issue without accurate access to the American report’s documents.
It is noteworthy that the German government strongly condemned Khashoggi’s killing at the time and suspended arms exports to Riyadh.
Besides, it imposed entry bans on 18 of the Kingdom’s citizens in agreement with its European partners.
A criminal case against bin Salman in Germany
Reporters Without Borders have filed a criminal case with the German public prosecutor in the Karlsruhe Federal Court against Mohammed bin Salman and many senior officials in Saudi Arabia.
The complaint included no less than 500 pages with accusations of the arbitrary detention of more than 30 journalists and the murder of Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018.
The Public Prosecutor’s Office stated that it is assessing the complaint from a legal and factual point of view.
The organization concerned with freedom of expression issues stated that the reason for submitting the complaint to the “Attorney General of the Federal Supreme Court” is its jurisdiction to look into “basic international crimes” related to “the generalized and systematic persecution of journalists in Saudi Arabia” and is targeting alongside the Crown Prince, four other high-ranking Saudi officials.
“These (human rights) cases reveal a regime that threatens the lives and freedom of all those who openly criticize the Saudi kingdom system,” the newspaper “Sueddeutsche Zeitung” said.
The unprecedented complaint details the abuses committed against 34 journalists imprisoned in the Kingdom, of whom 33 are still in detention, including the blogger Raif Badawi, who has been detained in Saudi Arabia since 2012 on charges of “insulting Islam.”
The complaint targets the former advisor to the crown prince in the royal court, Saud Al-Qahtani, “former deputy intelligence chief” Ahmed Al-Asiri, former consul general in Istanbul Muhammad Al-Otaibi, and the “intelligence officer” who is suspected of leading “the band that tortured and killed” Khashoggi Maher Abdul Aziz Mutrib .