U.S. Slaps Sanctions on Saudis For Jamal Khashoggi’s Murder

The Saudi public prosecutor recommended the death penalty for five people who ordered and committed the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.

The journalist's body parts were then handed over to an agent outside the consulate grounds, Shaalan said.

The Treasury sanctions list included Saud al-Qahtani, a former senior aide to the crown prince; Mohammed al-Otaibi, the Saudi consul general in whose diplomatic mission Khashoggi was killed; and Maher Mutreb, described as a Qahtani "subordinate".

The US Treasury Department blacklisted the individuals with Global Magnitsky designations on Thursday, which would block their assets in the US and ban US financial transactions with them.

It also exonerated the powerful Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman of any involvement in the murder. Saudi Arabia has repeatedly denied Prince Mohammed, widely known as MBS, had any knowledge of the operation.

Khashoggi was reported to have been chopped into pieces while still alive in a horrifying seven-minute execution in Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.

Some details provided on Thursday again contradicted previous versions, none of which mentioned a drug-induced death and one of which called the killing premeditated based on information provided by Turkey.

Thursday's announcement by Saudi Arabia's top prosecutor, Saud al-Mojeb, centre, appears aimed at distancing the killers and their operation from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The brazen killing of Khashoggi, a rare Saudi insider willing to speak to American policymakers and journalists freely, sparked outrage in Washington.

The latest Saudi account of what took place failed to appease officials in Turkey, who insist the killing and its cover-up were carried out by the highest levels of government.

The deputy chief of Saudi Arabia's intelligence, General Ahmed al-Assiri, gave the order to repatriate Khashoggi and "the head of the negotiating team" that flew to the Istanbul consulate had ordered his murder, the spokesman said.

The U.S. Treasury Department, meanwhile, announced it was imposing sanctions on 17 Saudi officials who it said were responsible for or complicit in the killing.

Following the brutal killing of Saudi Arabian journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, a death penalty has been sought by the Saudi government against five suspects.

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.

Riyadh has repeatedly changed its narrative of Khashoggi's death and tried to distance its top leadership, particularly Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, from the killing.

A USA government commission found no evidence that Saudi Arabia directly funded al Qaeda, which carried out the attacks on NY and Washington.

Khashoggi made his fateful visit to the Istanbul consulate in order to obtain the papers he needed to marry his Turkish fiancee Hatice Cengiz.

An adviser to Erdogan accused Riyadh of trying to cover up the murder.

"The politicisation of the issue contributes to a fissure in the Islamic world while the kingdom seeks the unity of the Islamic world", al Jubeir told reporters in Riyadh. In Washington, the Trump administration is hoping to forestall congressional proposals to restrict arms sales to or military operations with Riyadh, which have arisen in large part because of growing fury at the humanitarian crisis in Yemen during a Saudi-led military campaign there.

  • Joey Payne