With the US Government facing criticism for giving immunity from prosecution to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, it has said even Prime Minister Narendra Modi was accorded the same protection. The Joe Biden Administration has drawn ire for giving immunity to the Saudi Prince over the alleged killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in which he is an accused.
Asked about this protection, US State Department Principal Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel said Modi was among those who had received similar protection.
“This is not the first time that the United States has done this. It is a longstanding and consistent line of effort. It has been applied to a number of heads of state previously,” Patel said.
“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,” he said. India is yet to give any comment on these remarks.
As Chief Minister of Gujarat, Modi was placed on visa ban by the US in 2005 over allegations in the wake of riots in the state in 2002.
Until his election as Prime Minister in 2014, the US maintained that there is “no change in its policy”, even after the United Kingdom and the European Union ended their boycott.
This is a consistent practice that we have afforded to heads of state, heads of government, and foreign ministers, Patel said.
The Biden administration on Thursday said the Saudi Prince has immunity from a lawsuit over the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, drawing immediate condemnation from the slain journalist’s former fiancee.
Prime Minister bin Salman is immune from suit in US courts while he holds the office of prime minister. He is the head of government. It has nothing to do with the merits of this case. The immunity determination is a legal one, Patel said.