The United States says the murder of exiled journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, was ordered by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Muhammad bin Salman (MBS).
President Joe Biden, during his campaign, promised to reassess America’s relationship with the kingdom. He also demanded more accountability on Khashoggi’s death.
On Friday, the Office of Director of National Intelligence made public a classified report of the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment.
“We assess that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman approved an operation in Istanbul, Turkey to capture or kill Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi,” the report said.
In 2018, Khashoggi, a strong critic of bin Salman’s policies, was assassinated inside Riyadh’s consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, while on a visit to obtain papers for his marriage.
Saudi sentenced five people to death in December 2018. Countries and organizations were not satisfied and insisted the masterminds are still free.
After the release of the report, the State Department imposed a visa ban on 76 Saudi nationals.
The “Khashog Ban” is part of measures by the U.S. government to “reinforce the world’s condemnation of that crime”.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken noted that the affected individuals were involved in “threatening dissidents overseas, including but not limited to the Khashoggi killing.
The official said the action was a warning to governments that “reach beyond their borders to threaten and attack journalists and perceived dissidents for exercising their fundamental freedoms”.
“As a matter of safety for all within our borders, perpetrators targeting perceived dissidents on behalf of any foreign government should not be permitted to reach American soil.”
Blinken directed submission of reports on such extraterritorial activities by any government in the annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.
The Secretary assured that America will continue to shine a light on any government that targets individuals exercising their human rights and fundamental freedoms.