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US Senators Urge Trump to Explore Sanctions Against Saudi Arabia Over Khashoggi

© AP Photo / Virginia MayoSaudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi speaks on his cellphone at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Khashoggi was a Saudi insider. He rubbed shoulders with the Saudi royal family and supported its efforts to nudge the entrenched ultraconservative clerics to accept reforms. He was a close aide to the kingdom’s former spy chief and was a leading voice in the country’s prominent dailies
Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi speaks on his cellphone at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Khashoggi was a Saudi insider. He rubbed shoulders with the Saudi royal family and supported its efforts to nudge the entrenched ultraconservative clerics to accept reforms. He was a close aide to the kingdom’s former spy chief and was a leading voice in the country’s prominent dailies - Sputnik International
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The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee's top senators penned a letter to US President Donald Trump pressing him to consider imposing sanctions "with respect to any foreign person responsible for such a violation related to Mr. Khashoggi," a Saudi Washington Post columnist who went missing after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

"The recent disappearance of Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi suggests that he could be a victim of a gross violation of internationally recognized human rights," the senators wrote. This includes "torture or cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment or punishment, prolonged detention without charges and trial, causing the disappearance of persons by the abduction and clandestine detention of those persons, and other flagrant denial of the right to life, liberty, or security of person," the lawmakers said.

A still image taken from CCTV video and obtained by TRT World claims to show Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi as he arrives at Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul, Turkey Oct. 2, 2018. - Sputnik International
US State Department Clueless About Saudi Journalist Khashoggi's Fate

"We request that you make a determination on the imposition of sanctions pursuant to the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act," the senators wrote. "Our expectation is that in making your determination you will consider any relevant information, including with respect to the highest ranking officials in the Government of Saudi Arabia."

Sens. Bob Corker (R-TN), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) were signatories of the letter. Corker and Menendez are chairman and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, respectively. 

Initial reports have suggested Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate and his body disposed of or transported elsewhere afterward, but these reports have yet to be confirmed. As of October 8, the journalist's status remained "missing," according to Sibel Edmonds, reporting from Turkey. According to Edmonds, an FBI whistleblower and publisher of Newsbud, there is more to Khashoggi's past than just being a journalist and columnist, as he also has ties to US intelligence agencies and the bin Laden family. 

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