Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is facing protests and the threat of possible prosecution during his first international tour since the brutal murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey on October.
The Crown prince is traveling abroad for the first time in a test to restore his public image since Khashoggi's killing and dismemberment. He is visiting Middle Eastern allies before arriving at the Group of 20 Summit (G20) in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which will take place between Nov. 30 and Dec. 1.
Since his tour began, bin Salman has visited Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Tunisia.
Hundreds of protesters, including rights activists and journalists in Tunis, Tunisia, rallied Monday and Tuesday against the Saudi prince's visit chanting "the murderer is not welcome in Tunisia" and "Shame on Tunisia's rulers."
The Tunisian Order of Lawyers tried to seek a court order blocking the prince’s visit.
“He is coming to this country to dirty it, and acquire a false legitimacy,” Tahar Yahya of the lawyers' group told AP. “We don’t want the money of a regime whose hands are stained with blood.”
Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi’s office said they condemn the murder and want a full investigation into Khashoggi's murder, but do not want that to be a means to destabilize Saudi Arabia.
Bin Salman's tour is due to end with the summit in Argentina. If the crown prince attends the G20 Argentine prosecutors are contemplating charging the top Saudi royal with war crimes in Yemen and torture of Saudi citizens, including Khashoggi.
The move comes after Human Rights Watch wrote to federal judge Ariel Lijo, who forwarded it to federal prosecutor Ramiro Gonzalez, the Guardian reports.
Khashoggi, a dissident journalist from Saudi Arabia and Washington Post columnist went into a self-imposed exile to the United States one year ago, when the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman started a widespread crackdown on dissenters.
He went to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 to get papers for his marriage and never returned. Turkey maintains that the kingdom’s officials killed Khashoggi inside the consulate, a claim Saudi Arabia denied.
After three weeks of denial, the kingdom accepted that Khashoggi was killed in the consulate but claimed the crown prince had no knowledge of the ‘rogue operation’ conducted by 15 high-profile Saudi officials who flew to Turkey the same day Khashoggi went to the consulate.
The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul, according to a Washington Post report on Nov. 16. The finding contradicts the Saudi government's assertions that he was not involved.
The murder has strained Saudi Arabia's ties with the West and battered Prince Mohammed's image abroad.