Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar introduced legislation to sanction Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman Tuesday after a U.S. intelligence report declassified last week implicated him in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
President Joe Biden’s administration has faced some backlash for not sanctioning bin Salman directly after the release of the report, and Rep. Omar named the administration in her statement on the new bill. “Starting with the Biden Administration, it is vital for all world leaders to ask themselves if they are prepared to shake hands with a person whose culpability as a murder has been proven,” the statement read.
Every minute Mohammed bin Salman escapes punishment is a moment where U.S. interests, human rights, and the lives of Saudi dissenters are at risk.
Today, I introduced legislation to place sanctions on the Crown Prince for his role in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. pic.twitter.com/MKBzxotVbO
— Rep. Ilhan Omar (@Ilhan) March 2, 2021
The bill calls for bin Salman’s assets to be frozen, any transactions between him and the United States to be banned, and for any immigration privileges and visas to be revoked. The Biden administration chose to sanction one former Saudi intelligence official last week, as well as the kingdom’s “Rapid Intervention Force,” but not bin Salman. (‘Simply Not True’: AP Reporter Challenges Biden State Department On Saudi Arabia At Press Briefing)
The report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said the Crown Prince directly ordered his own security detail to “capture or kill” Khashoggi, a Saudi dissident who previously wrote for The Washington Post. Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry has called the report “negative, false, and unacceptable,” rejecting any responsibility for the assassination.
President Biden was hesitant to directly sanction bin Salman due to concerns it would strain the diplomatic partnership between the U.S. and Riyadh, according to The New York Times. The administration has said it is pursuing a “recalibration” of the relationship between the two countries.