US hits 17 Saudis with sanctions over Khashoggi, including crown prince’s top henchman who reportedly directed killing via Skype

“The Saudi officials we are sanctioning were involved in the abhorrent killing of Jamal Khashoggi,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement. “These individuals who targeted and brutally killed a journalist who resided and worked in the United States must face consequences for their actions.”

Mnuchin added: “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.”

Among those slapped with sanctions were Saud al-Qahtani, a top henchman of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whom the Treasury Department described as “part of the planning and execution of the operation that led to the killing of Mr. Khashoggi.”

Qahtani reportedly ran the operation surrounding Khashoggi’s killing via Skype. The Saudis have sought to distance Prince Mohammed from the killing, and on Thursday reiterated their claim he had nothing to do with the operation. But it’s widely believed Khashoggi’s killing was a direct result of orders from Prince Mohammed, the de facto ruler of the kingdom.

Maher Mutreb, Qahtani’s subordinate, was also hit with sanctions. The Treasury Department said the operation was “coordinated and executed” by Mutreb.

Additionally, Consul General Mohammed Alotaibi, who oversaw the Saudi consul in Istanbul where Khashoggi was killed, was slapped with sanctions.

This all comes after Saudi Arabia earlier in the day announced it had indicted 11 men in connection with Khashoggi’s killing, and requested the death penalty for five.

The Saudi public prosecutors office said Khashoggi was killed via a lethal injection after a brief struggle, claiming his body was then dismembered and the parts were given to a local collaborator. The prosecution said the team originally intended to coerce Khashoggi to return to his native country, but killed him after he resisted.

This marked yet another shift in the Saudi’s narrative on the journalist’s disturbing killing.

News Reporter

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