Khashoggi murder: US imposes sanctions on Saudi officials

Washington: United States’ legislators on Monday unanimously passed a bill that will impose sanctions on Saudi officials involved in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Introduced by Congressman Tom Malinowski, the House of Representatives passed the Saudi Arabia Human Rights and Accountability Act by a whopping 405 votes.

The Act requires the director of National Intelligence to publicly identify persons who were involved in the murder of the dissident journalist in the Saudi consulate in Turkey last year. The Act also requires the director to impose visa and travel sanctions on them, reported Anadolu News Agency.

The other bill aimed at condemning Saudi Arabia for detaining and allegedly abusing female human right activists was also passed in the lower house of the Congress today.

This development holds significance as Republicans also supported the bill despite President Donald Trump’s defence of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), who is chiefly suspected of ordering the murder.

Khashoggi, who was a journalist with The Washington Post and a vocal critic of the Saudi regime, was killed on October 2 last year in Turkey where he had gone to obtain paperwork certifying his divorce with his former wife Alaa Nassif in order to be able to marry his Turkish fiancee Hatice Cengiz.

After presenting several contradictory theories, Saudi Arabia acknowledged that Khashoggi was killed in the consulate premises in what it had described as a “rogue operation”.

According to US intelligence agencies, Khashoggi’s murder was enacted upon orders given by MBS.

However, Saudi Arabia has repeatedly rejected all the allegations against its Crown Prince, adding that it is committed to bringing the perpetrators to justice.