ISTANBUL — The Biden administration has declared that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia should be granted immunity in An American legal case against him over his role in The murder of the Saudi Jamal dissident Khashoggi, effectively blocking yet another effort to hold the kingdom’s leader accountable for This is the grisly crime.

Mr. Khashoggi This was a well-known fact Saudi Journalist who fled Saudi Arabia for United States and published column in The Washington Post criticizing Prince Mohammed’s policies. He was dismembered and killed by a group of people in October 2018. Saudi agents inside the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul, where he had gone to obtain papers he needed to marry his Turkish fiancée. U.S. intelligence found that Prince Mohammed had ordered this operation.

Prince Mohammed, 37, is now prime minister in September marked the formalization of the power he held for Years as Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, although his elderly father, King Salman, remains the official head of state.

In a letter to the Justice Department Late Thursday, the State Department stated that Prince Mohammed should be “immune while in office” As the head Saudi government refers to his role in the Prime Minister’s Office. Senior Democratic lawmakers sharply criticized the Biden administration’s action on Friday.

Despite the fact that you were there in July, President Biden himself has denounced Saudi Arabia, as of recent for the kingdom’s move in October to cut oil production despite the fact that Russia’s war in Ukraine has led to rising energy prices.

Prince Mohammed repeatedly stated that he didn’t know about the plot against Mr. KhashoggiHe accepted symbolic responsibility, however. for it as the nation’s de facto ruler.

The State Department stated that they did not adopt a position on this suit and reiterated their position. “its unequivocal condemnation of the heinous murder” Mr. Khashoggi. It asked the Justice Department to request in writing that the federal court be established. in Washington, where the case was brought, granted Prince Mohammed legal immunity.

John D. Bates, the judge, asked for assistance from the department. for The U.S. government will weigh in All issues relating to the case including “the applicability of head-of-state immunity,” The letter stated.

The judge will take the final decision.

Human rights activists were angered by the Biden administration’s actions. They condemned failures to penalize Prince Mohammed, also known as M.B.S.

“Caving into M.B.S.’ immunity ploy — when silence was an option for the administration — not only rewards M.B.S. for his intransigence, including continued attacks on activists in the U.S., but signals GO to tyrants around the world,” Sarah Leah Whitson is the executive director at DAWNThe Human Rights Group Founded by Mr. Khashoggi, wrote on Twitter.

Ms. Whitson wrote: “If autocratic leaders possess oil and money,” “You’re safe, whatever your crimes.”

Senator Tim Kaine is a Democrat from Virginia. Khashoggi He claimed he was a resident. “deeply disappointed in the State Department’s decision to intervene” in The lawsuit.

“The administration had no duty to take a proactive position and could have simply refrained from doing so,” He concluded.

The Saudi government had no immediate comment.

The State Department spokesperson’s office released an unusually long statement on Friday that said the agency’s recommendation to the court was a legal determination and did not reflect any policy considerations.

“The U.S. government’s suggestion of immunity in this case is based on longstanding and well-established principles of common law, including customary international law, which the United States has consistently and across administrations applied to heads of state, heads of government and foreign ministers while they are in office,” According to the statement.

“Across administrations, there is an unbroken practice of the United States recognizing immunity for heads of government while they are in office — and we expect other governments to do the same for the United States,” The statement was continued.

The department stressed that the Biden administration had consistently “expressed its grave concerns regarding Saudi agents’ responsibility” for The murder of Mr. Khashoggi He imposed visa bans, sanctions and other punishments. Prince Mohammed was not punished.

Ashley Deeks, a law professor at the University of Virginia who was a deputy legal adviser at the White House National Security Council under Mr. Biden, said the State Department’s determination was consistent with precedent. “I think it would have been more surprising if the government had come out the other way,” She spoke.

Ms. Deeks claimed it is customary for The court should ask the State Department for Recommendation in A case like this.

Diplomatic law specialists in the legal adviser’s office would have taken the lead on the issue. Richard C. Visek signed the Thursday letter. Such determinations are usually reviewed by the secretary of state’s office and by the National Security Council.

Prince Mohammed’s appointment as prime minister, formally made by his fatherThe unusual case of king was king. It required an exception to the kingdom’s basic law, which states that the king is the prime minister.

Prince Mohammed’s opponents point out that his appointment as prime minister has brought little practical change because he already had oversight of governance in The kingdom.

They noted that being named as prime minister officially offers legal immunity abroad.

The State Department’s legal request arrives at a very stressful time in U.S.-Saudi relations. After entering the White House, Mr. Biden kept his distance from Prince Mohammed, refusing to meet with him and criticizing the kingdom’s human rights record. But during his visit, Saudi Arabia in the summer of 2012, President Biden had a fist bump. The exchange was later condemned by top Democratic lawmakers and human right advocates.

Then, last month. Saudi Arabia and its partners in The OPEC Plus oil cartel agreed that it would sharply reduce output. This angered the administration who feared rising gas prices and claimed the move would be in the best interests of Russia, a member. Senior administration officials believed that they had made a secret deal in May with Prince Mohammed and Other Saudi Officials will have the kingdom take charge of OPEC Plus in An announcement of gradual increases in oil production through the end.

The October announcement was made in Biden, in the reverse direction, vowed unspecified repercussions “consequences” on the kingdom and that he would work closely with Congress to reevaluate relations.

Some U.S. officials believed that Prince Mohammed had coordinated or acted against the Democrats in advance of the November midterm elections. This was based on a preference for Dealing with Donald J. Trump’s Republican allies. The Saudis argued that the reduction in production was due to their fear that oil prices would fall.

John Kirby, a White House spokesman, said Friday that Mr. Biden’s opinion that “a review is warranted and necessary” It has not changed.

Follow Mr. Khashoggi’s murder, Saudi officials denied for They knew for weeks where he was, but finally admitted that their agents had killed him.

While campaigning in In the U.S. presidential election Mr. Biden pledged to treat Saudi Arabia as a “pariah.” Once in He approved the release of the C.I.A. by the White House The assessment concluded that Prince Mohammed had authorized the operation that resulted in Mr. Khashoggi’s killing.

Frustrated by Prince Mohammed’s lack of response, Mr. Khashoggi’s Turkish fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, and DAWN sued him and his top aides in Washington Federal Court

Prince Mohammed’s lawyers argued that he enjoyed what is known as “sovereign immunity” as the head government.

Ms. Cengiz responded to the State Department correspondence. wrote on Twitter: “Jamal died again today.”

Prince Mohammed was also sued in U.S. courts. A former plaintiff files a suit Saudi Official in intelligence who is currently in Exile accuses the crown prince of sending a hit team to Canada in He was killed in an unsuccessful attempt. The case was dismissed by a judge last month due to jurisdiction issues.

Although the legal consequences of such cases are still unclear, they could have discouraged Prince Mohammed from visiting the United States. His last visit to the country was in The spring of 2018, before Khashoggi killing. He had previously been a frequent visitor during the Obama and Trump administrations.

Ben Hubbard Report from Istanbul, Edward Wong Washington Vivian Nereim Contributed reporting from Doha Qatar. Alan Rappeport Washington