US Congress Moves to Bring Perpetrators in Khashoggi Murder to Justice
By Staff, Agencies
In the wake of Joe Biden administration’s fumbling on a US intelligence report indicting the Saudi crown prince for the murder of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the US Congress introduced two bills to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Congressman Gerry Connolly of Virginia, where the slain journalist was living at the time of his murder in 2018, introduced the Saudi Dissidents Protection Act, backed by the Republican Rep. Michael McCaul from Texas, paving the way for a legislation that has been deemed instrumental in punishing the Saudi officials responsible for the murder.
“Jamal Khashoggi was my constituent. His brutal murder must not be forgotten, and there has to be justice,” Connolly said Thursday. “This bill will be a vehicle for moving us toward eventual justice.”
The foreign affairs committee of the US House of Representatives gave its nod to the legislation through voice vote on Thursday, before it is taken up by the full house.
“This legislation imposes reasonable limits on US weapons transfers to Saudi intelligence agencies shown to be involved in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi and other political repression, until such repression and abuse of dissidents abates,” Gregory Meeks, the chairman of the committee, said.
The latest bill is an updated version of the legislation introduced by Connolly in the last Congress, which was at the time rejected by Republicans, apparently at the behest of former US President Donald Trump who shared a cozy relationship with Mohammed bin Salman.
It would restore a four-month ban on arms sales to Saudi security forces for acting against dissidents and sanction Saudi intelligence and law enforcement bodies that detain Americans in Saudi Arabia or prevent them and their families from traveling.
The US Congress committee also approved a legislation on Thursday put forward by Democratic Rep. Tom Malinowski of New Jersey, which seeks to bar the Saudi crown prince and his accomplices involved in the murder of Khashoggi from coming to the US.
Khashoggi, a columnist for Washington Post and a fierce critic of the Saudi regime, was murdered by bin Salman’s ‘hit squad’ inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul in October 2018.
A declassified version of a US intelligence report released last month revealed that the Saudi crown prince had approved the mission “to capture or kill” the dissident journalist.