Saudi Arabia ‘deliberately undermined Khashoggi probe’

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Khashoggi, a royal insider who became a critic of Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and began writing for the Washington Post, was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul by a team of Saudi operatives on October 2, provoking global revulsion and tarnishing the image of the prince.

In light of the revelations, Khashoggi's Turkish fiancee said on Friday she hoped pressure from United States lawmakers would encourage the Trump adminstration to take a tougher stance on the killing.

He declined to disclose the names of those standing trial in Saudi Arabia for the killing, but said sessions had been attended by representatives of the five members of the UN Security Council. The decision was expected, and a bipartisan Senate bill introduced Thursday would supersede the request and direct the president to impose sanctions on anyone - including Saudi officials and the royal family - he determines was "responsible, or complicit in, ordering, controlling, or otherwise directing" acts that caused or contributed to Khashoggi's death.

Jamal Khashoggi's murder was planned and carried out by Saudi state officials, a UN-led inquiry has said.

But the Trump administration has said there is no irrefutable evidence of Prince Mohammed's involvement, and has stressed the importance of the strategic partnership between Washington and Riyadh.

Long a member of the Saudi establishment, Khashoggi became estranged from the government in Riyadh as a result of his criticism of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and had been living in self-imposed exile in the USA since 2017.

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Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir spoke to reporters as legislation was introduced in Congress to block some arms sales to the kingdom over the killing of writer Jamal Khashoggi and the widespread deaths of civilians in the war in Yemen. Prince Mohammed, the next in line to the Saudi throne behind his ailing father, King Salman, has become the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia and a close ally of the Trump White House - especially Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and senior adviser.

President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have not backed the evidence of US intelligence that the prince nearly certainly ordered the killing, or at least knew of it.

The new legislation, sponsored by Republican Sens.

Jamal Khashoggi's remains have not been found four months after his brutal murder and there is no grave for his loved ones to grieve and pray at, the Saudi dissident's fiancee has said.

Al-Jubeir said he believed some of the congressional criticism was "driven by politics".

Cengiz's comments also came a day after an independent United Nations human rights expert said authorities in Saudi Arabia quietly held a second court hearing for the 11 people facing charges over the killing. "I think for anyone to think they can dictate what we should do or what our leadership should do is preposterous".