Several human rights groups expressed ''deep concerns'' over President Joe Biden's planned July meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in a joint letter sent Thursday.
The 13 signatories, which include the Human Rights Foundation, The Freedom Initiative, and Freedom House, emphasized Saudi Arabia's involvement in the ongoing Yemeni civil war and the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
''Efforts to repair the U.S. relationship with the government of Saudi Arabia without a genuine commitment to prioritize human rights are not only a betrayal of your campaign promises, but will likely embolden the crown prince to commit further violations of international human rights and humanitarian law,'' the letter read.
''We urge your administration to secure genuine progress on human rights before acting in a manner that would bolster the status of the crown prince and his government,'' it added.
The organizations further demanded that Saudi Arabia meet six criteria before any meeting between Biden and Salman, notably releasing all political prisoners, ending male guardianship over women and removing discriminatory laws.
Biden's potential trip comes amid growing tension between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia that reached a tipping point in 2018 after the CIA concluded that Salman authorized a plan to ''capture or kill'' Khashoggi, a notable critic of the Saudi royal family.
That year, the 59-year-old was executed in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul by officials working for the Saudi government. Salman has consistently denied any involvement in his abrupt homicide, according to the BBC.
Hatice Cengiz, Khashoggi's former fiancee, remarked that later investigations and rulings from Saudi Arabia regarding the murder made ''a complete mockery of justice.''
''The Saudi authorities are closing the case without the world knowing the truth of who is responsible for Jamal's murder,'' Cengiz said. ''Who planned it, who ordered it, where is his body? These are the most basic and important questions that remain totally unanswered.''
The meeting between the two leaders had initially been planned for later this month. But a senior White House official told NBC News last week that the president's Middle East trip had been rescheduled until at least July.
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