Farcical Saudi Justice
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)
Human and civil rights are banned by the Saudi dictatorship, the Arab world’s most ruthless terror state.
Even the State Department admitted its abuses in its 2018 human rights report on the kingdom, saying:
“Human rights issues included unlawful killings; executions for nonviolent offenses; forced renditions; forced disappearances; and torture of prisoners and detainees by government agents,” adding:
“There were also reports of arbitrary arrest and detention; political prisoners; arbitrary interference with privacy; criminalization of libel, censorship, and site blocking; restrictions on freedoms of peaceful assembly, association, and movement; severe restrictions of religious freedom; citizens’ lack of ability and legal means to choose their government through free and fair elections; trafficking in persons; violence and official discrimination against women, although new women’s rights initiatives were implemented; criminalization of consensual same-sex sexual activity; and prohibition of trade unions.”
“Government agents carried out the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the consulate of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul, Turkey, on October 2 (2018).”
“King Salman pledged to hold all individuals involved accountable, regardless of position or rank (sic).”
Reality is polar opposite. Rubber-stamp Saudi courts exclude judicial fairness. Guilt by accusation is automatic — the way Israeli military courts mistreat thousands of Palestinian political prisoners, pronounced guilty for not being Jewish.
The Saudi dictatorship banned fundamental freedoms, imprisons and/or assassinates critics, prohibits dissent, free expression, assembly, and virtually everything conflicting with or opposing its despotic rule.
On Monday, Riyadh’s public prosecutor Shalaan al-Shalaan sentenced five designated patsies to death, three others to long prison terms for Jamal Khashoggi’s murder.
Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) ordered him killed, authorizing a 15-person hit squad to silence his criticism of the regime.
Farcical/secret proceedings absolved MBS, his former close advisor Saud al-Qahtani linked to the plot, deputy intelligence chief Ahmed al-Assiri and former Istanbul consul general Mohammed al-Otaibi — “due to insufficient evidence.”
Khashoggi was a Washington Post columnist at the time of his murder in the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate.
Following Monday’s ruling, its editors denounced the “shameful travesty of justice…(A)ccording to the CIA, (MBS was) the real author of the crime,” adding:
The chief prosecutor’s farcical ruling “send(s) the reckless Saudi ruler the message that his murderous adventurism will be tolerated.”
UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions Agnes Callamard denounced the farcical trial for failing to meet international procedural and substantive standards.
Tasked by the UN’s human rights office to establish “the nature and extent of states and individuals responsible for the murder,” she said the regime is responsible for Khashoggi’s murder.
On Tuesday, her WaPo opinion piece condemned “the (kingdom’s) antithesis of justice,” adding:
Sentencing designated “hit men…to death…silenc(es) key witnesses, (while) the apparent masterminds walk free — barely touched by the investigation and trial.”
“This is exactly what impunity looks like, and it must be denounced.” Secret proceeding were a “travesty until an actual impartial investigation holds those at the highest level responsible.”
Khashoggi’s murder “was an extrajudicial execution for which the state of Saudi Arabia is responsible. Yet at no point did the investigation or trial consider the responsibilities of the state.”
The so-called trial “constituted obstruction of justice and a violation of the Minnesota Protocol for the investigation of arbitrary killings.”
“All of this was then compounded by holding the trial behind closed doors, even though there was no justification for doing so under international law.”
Khashoggi’s murder was well-planned in advance. The hitman team included a forensic doctor to chop up his body for easy disposal, likely dissolved in acid to leave no remains.
Patsies convicted by sham proceedings had nothing to do with ordering Khashoggi’s murder. They were willing executioners, following orders from the top, notably de facto ruler MBS.
Callamard: “(T)here is credible evidence, warranting further criminal investigation, of the involvement of top Saudi officials, including Qahtani and Mohammed bin Salman (MBS).”
Saudi high crimes go way beyond Khashoggi’s murder. They include the killing fields of Yemen, involvement in US aggression, and countless homeland political executions, mostly by public beheadings, some by firing squad, most victims wrongfully charged with terrorism — for criticizing kingdom repression.
In January 2016, 47 Saudis were executed on the same day, including prominent Muslim cleric Nimr al-Nimr.
He was brutally mistreated for criticizing Saudi state terror — arrested, detained, beaten and otherwise tortured, shot, and denied medical treatment before extrajudicially executed.
In October 2014, he was sentenced to death on spurious sedition charges, for “seeking foreign meddling in (Saudi affairs), disobeying its rulers, and taking up arms against the security forces,” according to Riyadh.
No evidence supported the outrageous charges. Sheikh Nimr justifiably criticized repressive rule, denounced its mistreatment of Shia Muslims and enjoyed widespread popular support for his views.
He told supporters that Riyadh “depend(s) on bullets and killings and imprisonments. We must depend on the roar of the word, on the words of justice.”
He rejected violence, relied on the “weapon of the word,” predicted rebellion if authorities continued their ruthless agenda.
He was declared guilty by accusation before sham trial proceedings began.
Countless thousands of other kingdom victims have been mistreated the same way.
Saudi ruthlessness is well known, regime critics disposed of to silence them. It’s how the kingdom operates — tolerating no opposition or dissent.
As long as it’s oil rich, it remains a valued US ally, its despotism ignored, Khashoggi’s murder a short-term exception to the rule, doing nothing to change close ties to the West.
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My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”