Argentine Prosecutor Requests More Details in Saudi Prince Case

(Bloomberg) -- Argentina’s federal prosecutor requested more information Wednesday on a Human Rights Watch attempt to force an investigation into Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s possible role in alleged war crimes in Yemen, delaying any decision to proceed.

Prosecutor Ramiro Gonzalez’s move came hours after Prince Mohammed arrived in Argentina to attend the two-day G-20 leaders’ summit in Buenos Aires. The kingdom’s de facto leader has faced international condemnation over the murder of critic Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in early October, and his visit will be closely watched for any signs that world leaders have grown wary of his rule.

Russian President Vladimir Putin intends to meet with the prince, but the White House has said President Donald Trump has no plans for a one-on-one meeting. The Khashoggi controversy has prompted some U.S. lawmakers to demand sanctions, though Trump has said he will not allow it to upend Saudi relations, citing the potential impact on oil prices, weapons sales and U.S.-led efforts to curb Iranian influence in the region.

In a filing on Nov. 28, Gonzalez asked if Yemen and Saudi Arabia have open cases against the crown prince. He has also approached the supreme court for advice on whether Argentina has any jurisdiction in the case.

The Human Rights Watch submission concerned allegations of torture by Saudi officials as well as the prince’s oversight of the Saudi-led coalition fighting Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Almost four years after the prince ordered his military into action, tens of thousands of Yemenis are believed to have died as a result of the war, while millions face hunger and disease.

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