Amnesty International, a London-based nongovernmental organization (NGO) focused on human rights, reiterated its call for an independent investigation led by the U.N. into the killing of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, after the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that 16 Saudis would be barred from entering the U.S. Philippe Nassif, the advocacy director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International USA, said: "If the U.S. is serious about seeking accountability for the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, then Secretary Pompeo must call for and support an independent investigation, led by the U.N."
Criticizing the Trump administration for their lack of concrete action against the Saudi kingdom and even attempt to cover up the case, Nassif added: "Unfortunately, the Trump Administration's historic willingness to look the other way in the face of human rights violations by the Saudi government means that an impartial U.N. investigation is the only hope to get the full truth about what happened to Khashoggi and to convey to Saudi officials that they will not evade accountability for this crime."
A statement released by the U.S. State Department had listed the 16 individuals related to the murder and said that they had been designated as unable to enter the U.S. under the Department of State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations Act. Khashoggi was killed in the kingdom's Istanbul Consulate on Oct. 2, 2018, by a team of 15, consisting of Saudi officials who arrived in Turkey for his murder and a cover-up team that was also in charge of dismembering Khashoggi's body.
The CIA concluded in October that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) ordered the assassination of Khashoggi. However, President Trump disputed the CIA report and told reporters: "The CIA points it both ways. Maybe he did, maybe he didn't," a phrase he had used in a controversial statement released on the incident. After weeks of denying any involvement in the crime, Saudi Arabia later admitted that Khashoggi had been killed inside the consulate but denied that the royal family and the crown prince had any prior knowledge of or responsibility for Khashoggi's killing.
Meanwhile, the family of Khashoggi has denied any financial settlement with Saudi authorities.
"Currently, the trial is taking place and no settlement discussion had been or is discussed," the family said in a statement on Twitter yesterday. "The people who committed and were involved in this crime will all be brought to justice and face punishment," it added. Last week, The Washington Post said that Saudi Arabia had paid compensation to the family of the renowned journalist, citing that each of his children had been given houses in Jeddah worth as much as $4 million as part of a preliminary financial settlement. The daily paper also said that the family members were also receiving monthly payments.
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