The US State Department on Monday banned entry of 16 Saudi citizens for the murder of journalist Jamal Hashoggi.
State Secretary Mike Bombo’s statement came out because the administration of President Donald Trump was under pressure from Congress for his reaction to the killings at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last October, which caused an unprecedented international analysis of the country’s human rights situation.
A statement issued by the US Department of State codified those who stated that they were appointed in accordance with Section 7031 (c) of the State Department’s Foreign Operations and Appropriations Act of 2019.
The section states that “if the Secretary of State has reliable information that foreign government officials were involved in serious corruption or serious human rights violations, these individuals and their immediate relatives have no right to enter the United States”.
“The law requires the Minister of Foreign Affairs to appoint these officials in public or, in particular, and their immediate relatives.”
The State Department previously canceled the visas of nearly 20 Saudi officials and froze the assets of 17 others.
Khashoggi, who criticized the Saudi regime, was killed on October 2 at a consulate of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul by a group of 15 agents sent from Riyadh. His body was never restored.
Denying the murder, Saudi Arabia stated that the operation was carried out by agents who were out of control. The trial of 11 suspects began earlier this year in Saudi Arabia.
But many cases remain, beginning with the mighty crown prince of Saudi Arabia and the de facto ruler Mohammed bin Salman.
After a closed briefing by the CIA in December, the US Senate passed a resolution calling the crown prince “responsible” for the murder, and President Donald Trump refused to take a public position.