Americas, Jamal Khashoggi

US Senator demands answers on Khashoggi murder

Sen. Bob Menendez requests records of whether Saudi Crown Prince responsible for journalist's death

14.02.2019
US Senator demands answers on Khashoggi murder

By Umar Farooq

WASHINGTON

A ranking Senate Democrat on the Foreign Relations committee on Thursday called on the Donald Trump administration to hand over all documents related to the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Sen. Bob Menendez sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo requesting records as to whether any member of the Saudi royal family, including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, were responsible for the killing of Khashoggi.

Menendez also requested all documents relating to the "cause of or circumstances surrounding the death of Jamal Khashoggi" and "efforts to obtain information regarding the death."

Last week, Trump decided not to pursue further punishments against Saudi Arabia over the murder, and failed to send a report to Congress determining whether sanctions are warranted against bin Salman for the murder of the Washington Post columnist and U.S. resident.

Khashoggi was brutally murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul shortly after he entered the diplomatic facility on Oct. 2. Riyadh initially denied any role in the killing but has since sought to blame his death on a botched rendition operation being carried out by rogue agents.

Saudi Arabia has sought to distance the crown prince from Khashoggi's murder, as has Trump.

The letter called on Trump to respond to the request made by Congress when it made a request to the administration last year to determine whether sanctions should be applied to bin Salman by invoking the Global Magnitsky Act.

Under the Global Magnitsky Act, a president has 120 days to respond to a request from the Senate Foreign Relations chair and ranking member to determine if sanctions are warranted against a person who has been accused of rights violations.

"Despite foreign and international officials investigating this matter who have concluded that senior Saudi officials bear responsibility for Mr. Khashoggi’s murder, this administration has been conspicuously reticent to hold senior officials and senior members of the Royal Family accountable," Menendez wrote.

"Now, despite a mountain of credible evidence, this administration seeks to avoid not only the spirit but the very letter of the law. This is wholly unacceptable for a nation built on the rule of law and committed to the protection of human rights," he added.

*Michael Hernandez contributed to this report

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