Op-Ed by – Yafa Al-Zahrani – Legal researcher
The White House is preparing to receive a new resident that is very different from the previous one. The Democrat Joe Biden, who defeated Republican Donald Trump during the election campaign, vowed to review the national and international “disastrous” policies of the US made under the Trump administration.
Currently, the Arab dictatorships led by Saudi Arabia, are quietly waiting to appease the new president.
The Saudi regime, which had the green light during the Trump era, is worried about the future relations between KSA and the Biden administration, especially after the latter promised in many forums to open dangerous files that incriminate the Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman and his sons especially the files of human rights violations in the KSA, the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the Yemen war.
Biden may deal differently with the Saudi regime and open files of the crimes of Bin Salman whom Trump covered up for four years.
Biden has repeatedly vowed to punish the Saudi crown prince, stressing his involvement in the Khashoggi assassination, and stressing that his administration will stop the US support for the Saudi military intervention in Yemen. He also added that the US will not put its values into question in order to sell arms or buy oil, but would rather hold accountable those responsible for committing the most heinous crimes at home and abroad, and will be making Saudi Arabia an international pariah.
Perhaps Biden’s assuming power may be an opportunity for the Saudi opponents in their battle to deter repressive practices in KSA, defend human rights there, and end Bin Salman’s dictatorship which silences those calling for a change imprisons those calling for peace, restrains prisoners of conscience, and prevents patients from receiving medical treatment. Bin Salman’s administration harasses female detainees, electrocutes journalists and media professionals, and forcibly disappears human rights activists.
Biden’s victory caused a great shock to a number of authoritarian leaders around the world, headed by the Saudi crown prince, who will no longer be able to directly access the White House, relying on his distinguished personal relationships with Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, and diplomatic advisor.
Saudi Arabia is attempting to deal with its human rights file in anticipation of upcoming conflicts. Perhaps its acceleration of the trials of prisoners of conscience is the most prominent evidence of this, as a series of vengeful rulings in politicized were issued in the last days of 2020 before Biden’s assuming of power.
Prominent American newspapers revealed that the US President Trump’s administration is seeking to provide the Saudi crown prince with diplomatic immunity from the judicial trial in the US over the cases filed against him, the most important of which is the lawsuit filed by the former Saudi intelligence officer Saad Al-Jabri, in which Bin Salman is accused of sending a team to assassinate him in Canada.
Granting immunity to Bin Salman is tantamount to giving him a green card to kill and liquidate his opponents at home and abroad, and for crimes that may outweigh the brutality of the “saw crime.”
Today, it has become imperative to call on the international community to stop turning a blind eye to the heinous crimes committed by the Saudi regime and to stop overlooking its oppressive practices that not only target its opponents but expand to their families and relatives.
As we welcome a new year, it is important to shed light on the human rights file in Saudi Arabia, as years of repression, lack of international oversight and impunity may increasingly claim the lives of countless detainees.
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