The Latest: Treasury hits 17 Saudis with economic sanctions
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The Latest on developments following the Oct. 2 killing of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul (all times local):
The U.S. Treasury Department is adding economic sanctions to the travel bans already in place against 17 Saudis accused of taking part in the October slaying of writer Jamal Khashoggi inside their country’s consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.
The new sanctions freeze any assets the 17 may have in the U.S. and prohibit any Americans from doing business with them. The sanctions were announced Thursday. One of the men is a top aide to Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman.
U.S. officials say they have pressed the Saudi government for a full investigation into the killing of Khashoggi. Turkish and Saudi authorities say the U.S.-based columnist for The Washington Post was killed by a team from the kingdom inside the consulate after he went there to get marriage documents.
Saudi authorities have 21 people in custody and the country’s top prosecutor said he would seek the death penalty for five of the suspects.
Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister says that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had “absolutely” nothing to do with the killing of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi.
“Absolutely, his royal highness the crown prince has nothing to do with this issue,” Adel al-Jubeir told reporters in a press conference in Riyadh.
He spoke just hours after Saudi Arabia’s top prosecutor said he was seeking the death penalty for five men who exceeded their authority and carried out the killing.
Al-Jubeir said the kingdom is investigating and holding those responsible to account “to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”
“Sometimes mistakes happen... sometimes people exceed their authority,” he said, adding that the kingdom is now focused on ensuring such an operation does not happen again.
Turkey’s foreign minister says the announcement by Saudi Arabia’s top prosecutor on recommending the death penalty for five suspects in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi falls short of Turkey’s expectations.
Mevlut Cavusoglu also insists that the suspects detained in Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi’s killing should be put on trial in Turkey. He says Ankara wants Riyadh to reveal who ordered the Oct. 2 killing of the journalist at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.
Cavusoglu says: “I want to say that we did not find some of his explanations to be satisfactory” and that “those who gave the order, the real perpetrators need to be revealed. This process cannot be closed down in this way.”
The minister also questioned why Saudi Arabia indicted only 11 out of 18 detained suspects. He also said the Saudi prosecutor’s announcement did not reveal where Khashoggi’s remains were taken.
Saudi Arabia’s top prosecutor is recommending the death penalty for five suspects charged with ordering and carrying out the killing of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi.
Saud Al-Mojeb said on Thursday that Khashoggi’s killers had set in motion plans for the killing on Sept. 29, three days before he was killed inside the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul.
The prosecutor says the highest-level official behind the killing is Saudi former deputy intelligence chief Ahmad al-Assiri, who has been fired for ordering Khashoggi’s forced return.
The prosecutor says 21 people are now in custody, with 11 indicted and referred to trial.
Turkey has blamed the highest ranks of power in Saudi Arabia for Khashoggi’s brutal death, saying the kingdom sent an assassination squad for him.