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Human rights activists have expressed outrage at Britain’s invitation to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to attend Queen Elizabeth’s funeral on Monday. The Saudi embassy in London said that the crown prince will arrive in London tomorrow to honor the late queen. It is unclear if he will attend the funeral at Westminster Abbey.
Mohammed bin Salman authorized the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018, according to US intelligence. Khashoggi wrote critical articles about the Saudi royal family for the Washington Post and others. The killing sparked international outrage and the West boycotted Mohammed bin Salman until this year. The prince has always denied that he was personally involved in the case.
When Western countries faced a sharp decline in oil and gas supplies from Russia as a result of Russian sanctions and energy prices soared, leaders such as Biden and Macron reached out once again to MBS. The UK has had no public contact with the prince since the Khashoggi scandal.
The crown prince’s call, in the words of Khashoggi’s fiancé, “is a disgrace to the memory of Queen Elizabeth.” She requested the arrest of Mohammed bin Salman when he set foot in the UK, but said she doubted that would happen.
Other organizations also point to the dire human rights record in Saudi Arabia, where dissenting voices have been silenced and a 34-year-old Saudi woman who had studied in England was recently sentenced to 34 years in prison for posting on Twitter.
The former British ambassador to Saudi Arabia, John Jenkins, told the Guardian yesterday that the Saudi royal family and Charles love each other. “He made regular visits to the Gulf and officially and secretly received the Saudi princes in London, cared for them, and made an effort to learn some Arabic.”
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