US hits 17 Saudi officials with sanctions in Khashoggi murder

The Trump administration on Thursday slapped sanctions against 17 Saudis accused of involvement in the killing of US-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi – including top aides to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The 17 people include the 15-man hit squad that traveled to Turkey to carry out the operation, the Saudi consul general in Istanbul — where the killing took place inside the Saudi consulate — and a former adviser to the crown prince.

The economic sanctions by the US Treasury were declared after Riyadh’s public prosecutor announced that five out of 11 suspects charged in Khashoggi’s murder face a possible death sentence.

“The Saudi officials we are sanctioning were involved in the abhorrent killing of Jamal Khashoggi,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

“These individuals who targeted and brutally killed a journalist who resided and worked in the United States must face consequences for their actions.”

Those sanctioned include Saud al-Qahtani, a former aide to the crown prince; Consul General Mohammed Alotaibi; and Maher Mutreb, an aide to Qahtani who has appeared in photographs with the prince on official visits to the US, a source told Reuters.

Mutreb is accused of coordinating and carrying out the deadly operation.

“The United States continues to diligently work to ascertain all of the facts and will hold accountable each of those we find responsible in order to achieve justice for Khashoggi’s fiancée, children, and the family he leaves behind,” Mnuchin added in his statement.

“The Government of Saudi Arabia must take appropriate steps to end any targeting of political dissidents or journalists.”

A State Department official added that the administration’s own fact-finding probe continues and will not end with the sanctions, according to ABC News.

Under the sanctions, the US freezes all assets for the suspects — who are all imprisoned in Saudi Arabia — and blocks all American citizens from doing business with them.

The sanctions will be implemented under the Magnitsky Act, which President Obama signed into law in 2012 as a means of punishing Russian officials responsible for the death of Sergei Magnitsky in a Moscow lockup.

Since 2016, the so-called Global Magnitsky Act allows the government to impose sanctions on human-rights offenders.

With Post Wires

Source: Read Full Article