On November 17, the Department of Treasury of the U.S. imposed sanctions on 17 Saudi individuals, including security officials and diplomats, for their role in the murder of Saudi journalist and critic Jamal Khashoggi.
“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 … The Government of Saudi Arabia must take appropriate steps to end any targeting of political dissidents or journalists,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in an official statement.
The sanctions targeted the 15 men accused of carrying out the horrendous crime along with Saudi consul in Istanbul, General Mohammed Alotaibi, and a top aide of Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman, Saud al-Qahtani.
While the Department of Treasury’s statement confirmed that al-Qahtani was “a part of the planning and execution of the operation that led to the killing of Mr. Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul,” it didn’t mention Mohamed Bin Salman, who had reportedly ordered al-Qahtani to organize the operation.
Ahead of the U.S. announcement, Saudi Arabia’s Attorney General demanded the death penalty for 5 defendants accused in the case of Khashoggi’s murder and confirmed that the body of the slain journalist was cut into pieces. The timing of both announcements indicates that both the U.S. and Saudi Arabia are coordinating their steps, likely to find a way to avoid further negative consequences of this crime for their elites.