US cites Modi’s immunity over Gujarat violence to defend protection to Saudi crown prince

Modi with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman at the G-20 Summit in Osaka in 2019.

The government of the United States has cited the example of Narendra Modi to defend the immunity provided to Saudia Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The US intelligence community found that Mohammad bin Salman, often called MBS, ordered the killing of Khashoggi in 2018.

However, he has not been sanctioned and the US government continues to engage with him and the ruling Saudi family.

Last week, the administration of the United States led by Joe Biden submitted a response to a lawsuit filed by Khashoggi’s fiance Hatice Cengiz that MBS has immunity in the US as he is a head of the government.

MBS was recently appointed the Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia.

While the decision attracted criticism from Cengiz and human rights advocates, the Biden administration defended the move and cited precedents, involving Modi.

Pertinently, in 2002, Modi was sanctioned by the United States during 2005-14 over his alleged role in Gujarat violence.

US Department of State Principal Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel cited Modi and others to defend the immunity to MBS.

“It is a longstanding and consistent line of effort. It has been applied to a number of heads of state previously. Some examples: President Aristide in Haiti in 1993, President Mugabe in Zimbabwe in 2001, Prime Minister Modi in India in 2014, and President Kabila in the DRC in 2018. This is a consistent practice that we have afforded to heads of state, heads of government, and foreign ministers,” Patel was quoted as saying by international media.


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