Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy On The Probe In Argentina Of Mohammed bin Salman

The ongoing probe by Argentine authorities into the criminal responsibility of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for alleged war crimes in Yemen and the torture of Saudi citizens sends a powerful message to victims that justice is possible, and that those responsible for the gravest crimes may eventually be held accountable.

On November 26th, Human Rights Watch filed a petition before an Argentine federal prosecutor with information on several cases of Saudi citizens tortured in government custody and violations of international humanitarian law in Yemen, including indiscriminate and disproportionate airstrikes that have killed thousands of civilians and maintaining a naval and air blockade that has contributed to the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.  An estimated 85,000 children have already starved to death or died in airstrikes, and according to the United Nations, millions of Yemenis face starvation.  The petition also includes information on the horrific, premeditated murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Argentine judicial authorities have requested information from foreign governments on ongoing investigations elsewhere, and from Argentina’s foreign ministry on Mohammed bin Salman’s diplomatic status in Argentina.  The White House should provide any relevant information.

I hope the Argentine judicial authorities move forward expeditiously with their investigation, and that world leaders gathering in Buenos Aires today for the G-20 Summit discuss these serious issues, including the Crown Prince’s alleged responsibility for these egregious crimes.

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