After Court Approves Alternative Service, Lawyers for MBS Put in Notice of Appearance
Washington D.C., March 19, 2021 –Plaintiffs Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), a U.S.-based non-profit organization founded by Jamal Khashoggi, and Hatice Cengiz, fiance of Khashoggi, successfully served Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) with the complaint they filed in the District of Columbia Federal District Court on October 20, 2020.
The complaint alleges that MBS and other Saudi officials "acting in a conspiracy and with premeditation, kidnapped, bound, drugged and tortured, and assassinated U.S.-resident journalist and democracy advocate Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey," and that the murder caused plaintiffs grievous injury and harm. In accepting service of process, three attorneys from the firm Kellogg, Hansen, Todd, Figel & Frederick filed notices of appearance for "Defendant His Royal Highness Mohammed Bin Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia."
[Read more: Khashoggi's Widow and DAWN Sue MBS and Co-Conspirators in US Court for WashPost Journalist's Murder]
"We are committed to holding Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman accountable in a court of law for his murder of our founder, Jamal Khashoggi, and are grateful Judge Bates approved our motion for alternative service," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Executive Director of DAWN. "While MBS may have evaded sanctions by our government for his role in the murder, he won't evade prosecution by our judicial system for the damage he has caused us and Cengiz."
The lawsuit names as defendants various Saudi officials in addition to the Crown Prince, including Saud Al-Qahtani, his adviser; General Ahmed Al-Assiri, a senior intelligence official; 21 other named Saudi officials involved in the murder; and four unidentified conspirators. The lawsuit seeks relief under the Alien Tort Claims Act and the Torture Victim Protection Act for Khashoggi's torture and extrajudicial killing, which caused severe pain and suffering and significant damages to Cengiz. The lawsuit also seeks relief for defendants' tortious interference with Khashoggi's contract with DAWN as its first Executive Director.
"This lawsuit seeks not only to hold MBS and other senior Saudi Arabian officials accountable for Jamal's murder, but also to put the Saudi government and other abusive governments on notice that they will pay a price for such extrajudicial killings of journalists and activists," said Faisal Gill, attorney for the plaintiffs.
Judge John Bates approved plaintiffs' motion for alternative service of process on March 4, 2021, allowing service to MBS by WhatsApp messaging, express mail to the Saudi General Prison Directorate for various defendants currently imprisoned in Saudi prisons, publication in the New York Times International Edition and Al-Quds Al-Araby, and notice to MBS's lawyers of record on two other litigations he faces in the United States.
"We look forward to seeing MBS in court and finally obtaining discovery of all of the evidence — including who knew what, when, in our own government — implicating MBS and his co-conspirators in this vicious crime," said Ms. Whitson.
Photo: WASHINGTON, DC – MAY 13: Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia looks on in the Oval Office at the White House May 13, 2015 in Washington, DC. The Saudi delegation is meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden as part of this week's meetings with delegations from the Gulf Cooperation Council. (Photo by Olivier Douliery – Pool/Getty Images)