The United States on Thursday announced economic sanctions on 17 Saudi persons suspected of having a role in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last month, The New York Times reported. These persons include top aides of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Earlier on Thursday, Saudi Arabia said it had indicted 11 suspects for Khashoggi’s murder and prosecutors sought the death penalty for five of them. The public prosecutor exonerated Salman and instead accused two senior officials of giving the orders to murder Khashoggi. A spokesperson for the public prosecutor’s office denied Salman had any knowledge of the killing.
While the deputy chief of Saudi intelligence, General Ahmed al-Assiri, gave the order to force Khashoggi home, “the head of the negotiating team” that flew to Istanbul ordered his murder, said the spokesperson.
“The Saudi officials we are sanctioning were involved in the abhorrent killing of Jamal Khashoggi,” US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said. “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.”
Khashoggi, a vocal critic of the Saudi regime, went missing on October 2 when he was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul for paperwork of his upcoming marriage. Saudi Arabia initially claimed to have no information about his disappearance but later admitted he was killed by agents working without Riyadh’s knowledge.
On October 23, the United States had said it had identified 21 Saudi officials whose visas would be either revoked or who would become ineligible for visas in the future for their alleged involvement in the murder.
Last week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the country has shared recordings of Khashoggi’s murder with the United States, Germany, France, Saudi Arabia and Britain.
Those facing sanctions include Consul General Mohammed Alotaibi, in charge of the consulate, and Maher Mutreb, a senior official who allegedly coordinated the killing. The sanctions will lead to the freezing of their financial assets if under the United States jurisdiction, prohibit transactions with them, and prevent them from travelling to the US, according to The New York Times.