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Trump administration sanctions 17 people for alleged role in killing of Jamal Khashoggi

Key Points
  • The U.S. announced Magnitsky Act sanctions on 17 individuals Thursday for their alleged role in the killing of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
  • The sanctioned individuals include Consul General Mohammed Alotaibi, who oversaw the Saudi consulate in Istanbul where Khashoggi was allegedly killed.
  • Earlier Thursday, Saudi prosecutors said they would seek the death penalty for five individuals allegedly involved in the killing.
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Treasury Department sanctions 17 people for roles in Khashoggi killing

The U.S. announced Magnitsky Act sanctions on 17 people Thursday for their alleged role in the killing of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The sanctioned individuals include Consul General Mohammed Alotaibi, who oversaw the Saudi consulate in Istanbul where Khashoggi was allegedly killed, as well as Maher Mutreb, a senior Saudi official who is alleged to have coordinated the killing.

"These individuals who targeted and brutally killed a journalist who resided and worked in the United States must face consequences for their actions," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement. "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."

Earlier Thursday, Saudi prosecutors said they would seek the death penalty for five individuals allegedly involved in the killing and charged six others who are facing lesser punishments. The prosecutor's office said that Khashoggi was killed following a fight in the consulate. He was injected with a lethal sedative and then his body was chopped up and provided to a local collaborator, according to the prosecution.

Khashoggi's disappearance on Oct. 2 sparked an international incident. Lawmakers in the U.S. Congress have called for the ouster of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, a close ally of White House advisor Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law. Khashoggi was a contributor to The Washington Post and a U.S. resident.

The aftermath of the killing threatened Saudi Arabia's efforts to diversify its economy. An array of influential investors dropped out of Saudi Arabia's annual investment conference in Riyadh last month amid questions about the crown prince's involvement in the killing. Mnuchin also declined to attend to the event.

Saudi Arabia maintains that the crown prince did not order Khashoggi's execution. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan charged in a Nov. 2 article in The Washington Post that the killing was ordered at the "the highest levels" of the Saudi government, but has not directly named the crown prince. He said that he did not believe that the killing was ordered by King Salman.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said that the Saudi prosecution of individuals alleged to be involved in the killing was a positive step but "unsatisfactory." Turkey has demanded that those involved be prosecuted under Turkish law.