US sanctions dozens of Saudi officials for role in Khashoggi murder
The US rolled out the “Khashoggi Ban” – a new visa restriction policy to punish governments and officials who silence dissidents abroad, alongside the publication of a US intelligence report on the 2018 murder of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that 76 Saudis, including officials believed involved in the murder, were designated under this sanction decree. The report concluded that the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman likely approved the murder, but the authors stopped short off targeting the future Saudi king for sanctions or offering evidence of his direct involvement. The US Treasury separately announced sanctions against Ahmad Hassan Mohammed al-Asiri, the former Deputy Head of Saudi Arabia’s General Intelligence, as “ringleader of the operation,” and Saud al-Qahtani, who was viewed as the crown prince’s leading aide.
The hit team also included a subset of the Saudi royal guard, known as the Rapid Intervention Force, which reported only to Prince Mohammed.