The Saudi Crown Prince, Muhammed Bin Salman has been invited to London by the British government and members of the Royal family for attending Queen Elizabeth’s funeral. Whereas many citizens of the United Kingdom hold Salman responsible for violent crimes and aggressions against basic human rights. Human rights activists and campaigners are strongly protesting against the decision.
The Saudi Prince has reached London. Whether he will attend the funeral or not is still being speculated.
In October 2018, a journalist named Jamal Khashoggi_ working for the Washington Post as a columnist at the time_ was murdered inside the Saudi consulate. The orders for his death were allegedly directed toward Muhammed Bin Salman in a report produced by the CIA. After which sanctions were placed against those closest to the Prince but never against him directly. Several members of his close circle were banned to travel to the UK and this is the first time that the Prince has landed in the UK since the incident. Including the six men banned from the UK in 2020 for the alleged killing of Khashoggi were the Head of Saudi Intelligence, advisers, and generals of the royal court including a forensic expert and three army personnel. A case against five men was being pursued when in 2020, Saudi courts exempted those men from a death sentence and denied all allegations of Khashoggi’s murder on behalf of the Crown Prince.
Since 2018, activists all around the world have been questioning Salman’s role as the savior of human rights in Saudi Arabia, as acclaimed by the ruler himself. He has shown progress in various fields such as allowing women to drive and promoting the entertainment industry in the country. A recent critique was still in focus when authorities in an orphanage located in Khamis Mushait publicly bludgeoned several women for protesting. This news sparked another controversy involving Muhammed Bin Salman.https://www.timesofpakistan.com/world/protesting-women-at-a-saudi-arabian-orphanage-beaten-by-authorities/?swcfpc=1
Nonetheless, the monarchs of both Britain and Saudi Arabia have been accommodating, facilitating, and entertaining each other for a long time now. Prince Charles, now King Charles, visited Saudi Arabia almost a dozen times since the 1960s. While talking about climate change, King Charles said:
we are already seeing real progress. Something the Saudi green initiative and Middle East green initiative aim to accelerate.
America, Russia, and European countries during all these times have been furthering economic relations with Saudi and have bought petroleum products all the same. In 2018, the United Kingdom also appreciated Salman’s efforts in the areas of domestic reforms. Yet at that time the people of Britain called MBS a “war criminal” for his intervention in the Yemen war.
The ruler of Saudi Arabia is currently in London to deliver his condolences to the King of Britain. The Prince may or may not attend the actual funeral services at the Westminster Abbey on Monday as nothing has been decided on the subject.