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20 Saudi suspects in Khashoggi murder added to new UK sanctions list

July 7, 2020 at 1:19 pm

A file photo dated May 6, 2018 shows prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul, Turkey [Omar Shagaleh/Anadolu Agency]

Twenty Saudi nationals who are suspected of carrying out the assassination of exiled Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi have been added to a new list of sanctions created by the United Kingdom.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab published the sanctions list last night, which identifies 49 “notorious” individuals and entities responsible for international human rights abuses and other crimes, with 25 Russians and several North Koreans included in the list.

The sanctions list allows the UK to impose measures against all individuals and organisations within it, setting restrictions such as travel bans and the freezing of assets.

The 20 Saudi individuals are those who were involved in the murder of Khashoggi on 2 October 2018 at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, when 15 of the figures made up the Saudi hit team tasked with assassinating the columnist by more senior figures based in Riyadh.

Investigations appear to indicate that the operation was carried out under the command of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and his intelligence chiefs, according to audio recordings attained by Turkish intelligence.

Among the Saudi suspects included in the UK’s list are heputy head of the intelligence services Ahmed Hassan Mohammed Al Asiri and Saud Abdullah Al Qahtani, an adviser to crown prince, both of whom reportedly planned the assassination and directed the hit team.

READ: Turkey’s indictment of Khashoggi’s killers is essential for justice to be served

Bin Salman, who is protected by diplomatic immunity, has not been included in the list. The UK’s sanctioning of the individuals, however, is expected to strain ties between Saudi Arabia and Britain.

In the quest to gain justice for the murder of Khashoggi, Turkey held a court trial on Friday for the 20 Saudi suspects in absentia, following criticism of Saudi Arabia’s own trial last year which sentenced five to death and released the senior figures responsible for the assignation.