US Sanctions 17 Saudis Including Crown Prince Top Aide Over Khashoggi Killing

November 15, 2018 in News by Slad

 

Source: Sputnik News

 

Earlier Thursday, Saudi Attorney General Saud al-Mojeb demanded the death penalty for five out of 11 defendants who are accused in the case of the murder of the Saudi dissident journalist in a Saudi diplomatic compound in Istanbul.

The US Treasury introduced sanctions against 17 Saudi nationals over their suspected roles in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control said in a notice on its website Thursday.

The Treasury notice confirmed that sanctions would include restrictions against Saud al-Qahtani, a former top aide to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, as well as Mohammed Alotaibi, Counsul General at Saudi Arabia’s Istanbul consulate.

“The Saudi officials we are sanctioning were involved in the abhorrent killing of Jamal Khashoggi. These individuals who targeted and brutally killed a journalist who resided and worked in the United States must face consequences for their actions,” Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin was quoted as saying.

Mnuchin demanded that the Saudi government “take appropriate steps to end any targeting of political dissidents and journalists.”

In a separate statement on the new sanctions, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo indicated that the State Department would continue to seek all the “relevant facts,” consult the US Congress, and “work with other nations to hold accountable those involved” in Khashoggi’s murder.

According to Pompeo, the targeted individuals “occupied positions in the Royal Court and several ministries and offices of the Government of Saudi Arabia” at the time of Khashoggi’s killing.

 

Earlier in the day, the Saudi prosecutor general’s office called for the death penalty for five individuals suspected of ordering Khashoggi’s murder and carrying it out. If convicted, the suspects will be beheaded. Saudi authorities detained 21 individuals over the Khashoggi incident, with 11 of them facing charges.Prosecutors said former deputy intelligence chief Gen. Ahmed al-Assiri was the highest-level official involved in the plot, and ordered a ‘negotiating team’ of security men to travel to Istanbul and bring Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia. The head of this ‘negotiating team’ later gave the order to kill Khashoggi in the event that the operation to convince him to return to the Kingdom failed, according to investigators. Earlier, Saudi authorities implied that Khashoggi had died accidentally during a “fist fight” at the consulate. In Thursday’s statement, the Saudi prosecutor’s office reiterated that Crown Prince Salman was not implicated in the murder plot.

Speaking to reporters in Riyadh on Thursday, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir reiterated that King Salman “has nothing to do with this incident,” adding that Saudi Arabia considers Khashoggi’s murder a crime and a big mistake. Jubeir also rejected calls for an international probe into this case, saying that Riyadh “has its own investigative bodies that are both professional and independent.”

Earlier this week, Republican Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Corker said that the Senate was working on legislation to cut off all US assistance to Saudi Arabia for the war in Yemen, and in reaction to Riyadh’s “disdainful” response to Khashoggi’s killing.Jamal Khashoggi disappeared in Istanbul on October 2 after entering the Saudi consulate. His body was reportedly dismembered, but its whereabouts remain unknown. Earlier this week, a Turkish newspaper reported that the ‘hit squad’ which arrived in Istanbul to kill Khashoggi had carried a “murder kit” including syringes, electric shock devices and staplers in their luggage, which would indicate that the killing was premeditated.