US lawmakers push for sanctions against bin Salman over killing of Khashoggi
Democratic members of the US House of Representative have introduced two bills to penalize Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) for his personal role in the violent murder of one of his most prominent critics, Jamal Khashoggi.
According to Press TV, the motions were put forward after the administration of US President Joe Biden declassified on Friday an intelligence report that accused bin Salman of having approved the 2018 killing of the Washington Post journalist.
Congresswoman Ilhan Omar announced on Tuesday a bill that would freeze the Saudi crown prince’s assets and impose a visa ban on him.
“This is a test of our humanity,” she said in a statement. “If the United States of America truly supports freedom of expression, democracy and human rights, there is no reason not to sanction Mohammed bin Salman — a man our own intelligence found to have approved the murder of US resident and Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.”
On Monday, Congressman Tom Malinowski introduced a different bill, backed by Democratic House members James McGovern and Andy Kim.
The legislation would mandate a visa ban against the heir to the Saudi throne, based on existing rules that bar human rights abusers from entering the United States. It also allows the president to issue a national security waiver to lift the visa ban.
“I applaud the Biden Administration for naming MBS as Khashoggi’s killer, but it undercuts our message to Saudi Arabia if we accuse him of the crime and then do nothing to hold him accountable,” Malinowski said.
Former US President Donald Trump shielded Riyadh from the fallout of the crime, prioritizing lucrative deals with the regime over human rights concerns.
“The law is clear that the Secretary of State must apply a visa ban on persons he knows are linked to gross human rights abuses — exactly what the Khashoggi report lays out,” he added. “Our bill makes this doubly clear, and reminds the world that in America, no one, whether a president or a prince, is above the law.”
Additionally, McGovern stressed that there must be consequences for the gruesome murder of Khashoggi.