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US House endorses bill sanctioning individuals linked to Khashoggi murder

The act, which would sanction officials involved in the journalist's murder, still requires the approval of the Senate
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has denied any knowledge of Khashoggi's killing or its botched cover-up (AFP)

Members of the US House of Representatives have voted heavily in favour of a bill that seeks to impose sanctions on officials involved in the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Legislators approved the Saudi Arabia Human Rights and Accountability Act by 405-7 votes on Monday.

The act requires the director of National Intelligence to publicly identify the persons involved in the murder of Khashoggi and impose visa and travel sanctions on them.

Another bill passed by the Democratic-controlled lower house of Congress condemned Saudi Arabia's detention and alleged abuse of women's rights advocates.

Under that bill, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is required to report on the extent to which Riyadh's security forces and military are involved in human rights violations.

Although the measures easily cleared the House, they face a far harder test in the Republican-controlled Senate.

'State act'

Khashoggi, who wrote for the Washingon Post and Middle East Eye, was killed on 2 October 2018 in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

US President Donald Trump has strongly defended Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who the CIA believes ordered the murder of Khashoggi.

US must 'unlock the secrecy' surrounding Khashoggi's killing: UN expert
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Bin Salman has denied any knowledge of the killing or its botched cover-up, which Riyadh has described as a "rogue operation".

In a detailed report into the murder released last month, UN rapporteur Agnes Callamard accused Saudi Arabia of being responsible for the crime, calling it a "state act" in violation of international law.

The document also put forward several recommendations for the US, including determining the possible involvement of bin Salman in the murder.  

It also called for an FBI investigation into the killing and the declassification and release of relevant information in possession of US intelligence agencies.

Congress previously passed legislation mandating that Trump identify and sanction those responsible for the murder, but he never complied.