The United States imposed sanctions on key figures surrounding Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman after he learned on Friday that the prince was directly involved in the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Despite an appeal from the United Nations, there are no direct measures against bin Salman himself.
A US report released on Friday revealed that bin Salman approved an operation in Istanbul, Turkey, to arrest or kill the government-critical journalist Khashoggi.
A key advisor to the crown prince and members of his bodyguard were also implicated in the journalist’s murder. In addition, the report contains the names of 21 people who participated in the Saudi operation on behalf of bin Salman.
For the murder, the US Treasury Department sanctioned a former adviser to the Saudi crown prince and an elite unit of the royal family. These are the former deputy chief of General Intelligence Ahmed al-Asiri and the RIF.
Al-Asiri, according to the United States, was the leader of the Khashoggi assassination by a leadership team. Among the perpetrators were a number of members of the front. The sanctions include freezing any assets of these Saudis in the United States and preventing Americans from doing business with them.
The United Nations asks the United States to take direct action against the crown prince
Agnes Callamard, the UN human rights expert who investigated Khashoggi’s killing, said on Twitter that the US government should take action against bin Salman himself.
Callamard said Saudi Arabia should disclose what happened to Khashoggi’s body and where it went.
The Saudi government denies the involvement of bin Salman
Khashoggi was living in exile in the United States and disappeared in 2018 while visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. In the weeks after the disappearance, it turned out that he was killed there. His body was not found.
The Saudi government eventually admitted Khashoggi’s murder, but denies Crown Prince bin Salman’s involvement in the journalist’s murder. Five Saudis have been sentenced to death locally for their involvement. This happened during a secret lawsuit, which was viewed internationally as a mock trial. Their sentences were changed to 20 years in prison at the request of Khashoggi’s relatives.