Updated in: 09 April 2021 - 03:38
TEHRAN (Defapress) - Saudi dissidents complained that US President Joe Biden was reluctant to fundamentally change Washington's relationship with Riyadh after a long-awaited American intelligence report concluded that the de facto leader of Saudi Arabia approved the gruesome political killing of Jamal Khashoggi.
News ID: 83066
Publish Date: 28February 2021 - 00:58

Saudi Dissidents Blame Biden for Not Penalizing Crown Prince over Khashoggi MurderA report by the US intelligence community states on Friday that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) approved the killing of Khashoggi in Turkey in 2018. 

It seemed the publication of the report would likely strain US-Saudi relations, or at least put Biden under pressure to criticize bin Salman. But despite promising to punish senior Saudi leaders while on the campaign trail, the American leader declined to apply sanctions to the kingdom's crown prince.

Opponents of the Riyadh government have strongly criticized the US president for not imposing any sanctions against the Saudi crwon prince who has arrested and tortured human right activists and his adversaries in recent years. 

Yahya Asiri, the Secretary-General of al-Jama'a al-Watani party, said MbS had been excluded from US sanctions and that the opposition should press Washington to put him on the list. 

"Not sanctioning him [MbS] and other officials means we have to wait for other crimes at any time," he warned.

He added an international court should prosecute all perpetrators, whether they were directly involved in the killing of Khashoggi or those who ordered the murder.

Omar Abdul Aziz, another Saudi activist based in Canada, likened the trial of the perpetrators of Khashoggi's murder inside Saudi Arabia to a "joke".

He stressed that khashoggi's issue is not a mere matter of a person related to him and his family, but about the behavior of MbS, and that his exclusion from sanctions means that justice has not been established.

While Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday announced visa restrictions that affected 76 Saudis involved in harassing activists and journalists, he didn't announce measures that touch the crown prince. Senior administration officials have revealed Biden decided that the price of "directly penalizing" MbS amid allegations that he was the one behind the Khashoggi assassination is too high.

Khashoggi, 59, was killed by a team of intelligence operatives with close ties to the crown prince in Istanbul in early October 2018. His body was dismembered in part with a bone saw, American officials have noted, and the remains have never been found.

After first denying the killing, the Saudi government changed course and asserted that Khashoggi was killed by accident as the team sought to forcibly extradite him. The Saudis say that the team acted on its own and that the crown prince was not involved.

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