The US has determined that Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has immunity from a lawsuit over the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
Mr Khashoggi, a prominent critic of the government in Riyadh, was murdered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018.
US intelligence has said it believes Prince Mohammed ordered the killing.
But in court filings, the US State department said he has immunity due to his new role as Saudi prime minister.
“The doctrine of head of state immunity is well established in customary international law,” said Justice Department lawyers in a document filed in US District Court for the District of Columbia.
The 37-year-old was handed the role in September and denies any role in the killing of Mr Khashoggi.
But the Biden administration was keen to emphasise that the ruling was not a determination of innocence.
“This is a legal determination made by the State Department under longstanding and well-established principles of customary international…