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Biden imposes visa ban on 76 Saudis over Khashoggi murder

President Joe Biden on Friday imposed a visa ban on 76 Saudi nationals in connection with the murder of the late journalist, Jamal Khashoggi.

The ban followed a United States intelligence report which accused the Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, of approving the 2018 gruesome murder of Khashoggi.

The former Washington Post columnist was killed and allegedly dismembered on October 2, 2018, in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, by men said to be connected with the top levels of the Saudi government and the Crown Prince.

Khashoggi was also a critic of Saudi Arabia and Mohammed bin Salman’s policies.

But the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, who announced the measure described as the “Khashoggi Ban,” alleged that the affected individuals were involved in “threatening dissidents overseas, including but not limited to the Khashoggi killing.’’

Blinken explained that the ban was part of measures by the US government to “reinforce the world’s condemnation of that crime”.

He added that the new police was aimed at stopping governments that “reach beyond their borders to threaten and attack journalists and perceived dissidents for exercising their fundamental freedoms”.

“As a matter of safety for all within our borders, perpetrators targeting perceived dissidents on behalf of any foreign government should not be permitted to reach American soil. I also have directed that the State Department fully report on any such extraterritorial activities by any government in our annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.

“The United States will continue to shine a light on any government that targets individuals, either domestically or extraterritorially, merely for exercising their human rights and fundamental freedoms,” he said.

According to the declassified report, released by the US Director of National Intelligence on Friday, the Saudi prince approved the capture or killing of the late journalist, the News Agency of Nigeria said on Friday.

Blinken said though the US would continue to invest in its relationship with Saudi Arabia, the partnership must reflect US values.

He said, “To that end, we have made absolutely clear that extraterritorial threats and assaults by Saudi Arabia against activists, dissidents and journalists must end. They will not be tolerated by the United States.”

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