The administration of United States President Joe Biden announced a visa ban on Friday targeting 76 Saudi Arabian citizens over the 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and have announced sanctions, but Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is not on the sanctions list.
In a statement Friday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said “the world was horrified” by Khashoggi’s murder and announced a visa restriction policy named after the prominent Saudi journalist and dissident.
“The Khashoggi Ban allows the State Department to impose visa restrictions on individuals who, acting on behalf of a foreign government, are believed to have been directly engaged in serious, extraterritorial counter-dissident activities, including those that suppress, harass, surveil, threaten or harm journalists or other persons perceived to be dissidents for their work, or who engage in such activities with respect to the families or other close associates of such persons,” Blinken said in the statement.
“As a matter of safety for all within our borders, perpetrators targeting dissidents on behalf of any foreign government should not be permitted to reach American soil,” Blinken added.
Blinken said the moves reinforce the world’s condemnation of Khashoggi’s murder and serve to “push back against governments that reach beyond their borders to threaten and attack journalists and perceived dissidents for exercising their fundamental freedoms”.
Biden administration officials say the decisions on sanctions and visa bans will send a clear message about how the US wants to see the future US-Saudi relationship.
It will also still allow the US to preserve a working relationship with the crown prince, the country’s 35-year-old de facto ruler.