Saudi Crown Prince given same legal immunity as PM Modi: US
Washington, Nov 19: Saudi Prince Mohammed Bin Salman has been given the same protection as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a few other world leaders were afforded in the past, a US State Department spokesperson on Friday said in a briefing.
On questioning about granting immunity over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, US State Department Principal Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel said, "This is not the first time that the United States has done this. It is a longstanding and consistent line of effort."
Explaining further, Patel said, "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."
The US had put PM Modi, then Gujarat chief minister, on a visa ban in 2005 over Gujarat 2002 riots. It had maintained the same position till he was elected as the Prime Minister with a thumping majority in 2014. Thereafter, the situation dramatically changed and the PM has visited the US several times in the last eight years.
Coming to 37-year-old crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, he replaced the King as the Prime Minister in September. The gruesome murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist who wrote critically about Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, inside the kingdom's Istanbul consulate in October 2018, tarnished his image, globally.