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U.S. prohibits entry to 16 Saudis for Khashoggi's murder

By Darryl Coote
U.S. prohibits entry to 16 Saudis for Khashoggi's murder
The Trump administration has barred 16 Saudi nationals from entering the country following pressure from Congress to act on the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

April 8 (UPI) -- The United States prohibited 16 Saudi nationals from entering the country Monday for their alleged involvement in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The State Department said in a statement that it has the legal foundation to bar individuals and their families from entering the country where "credible information that officials of foreign governments have been involved in significant corruption or gross violations of human rights."

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The move follows months of Congress applying pressure on the Trump administration to provide answers about the death of the Washington Post columnist, who was murdered after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, last October.

A month after Khashoggi's death, Trump defended Saudi Arabia saying, "It's a complicated issue. It's a shame, but it is what it is."

Khashoggi was an outspoken critic of the Saudi regime, and his death has been largely blamed on the oil-rich country, which has denied responsibility.

In December, CIA Director Gina Haspel told Senators that intelligence indicates Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was to blame for Khashoggi's death.

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Of those barred from the United States include Saud al-Qahtani, a former Saudi Arabia advisor whom the CIA believes helped organization Khasjoggi's murder; Maher Mutreb, who has been accused of being part of a 15-member team suspected of carrying out the killing; and Dr. Salah Tubaigy, who is believed to have been present during the murder.

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