WASHINGTON, Feb 8: Legislation to hold Saudi Arabia accountable for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and for atrocities in Yemen has been re-introduced by a group of seven US Senators, four Democrats and three Republicans.
The bill, which was originally introduced in 2018, prohibits certain arms sales to Saudi Arabia, as well as in-flight refueling of Saudi coalition aircraft operating in Yemen, the lawmakers said in a joint press release on Thursday.
“The introduction of the Saudi Arabia Accountability and Yemen Act coincides with the deadline for the Trump Administration to determine whether Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman is personally responsible for the murder of Mr. Khashoggi,” the release said.
In October, senators triggered a provision in the Global Magnitsky Act that gives the president 120 days to determine whether a foreign individual is responsible for extrajudicial killings, and whether the US president intends to impose sanctions on that person, the release added.
The legislation was re-introduced by Democratic Senators Bob Menendez, Jack Reed, Jeanne Shaheen, Chris Murphy and Republicans Lintsey Graham, Todd Young and Susan Collins, the release noted.
In December, the Senate passed a previous version of the legislation on a 56-41 vote, short of 67 votes needed to override a presidential veto, and the House of Representatives failed to take up the measure.
Saudi Arabia denies bin Salman was aware of plans to assassinate Khashoggi in the nation’s consulate in Istanbul in November, but US intelligence agencies are unanimous in concluding that the crown prince was most likely responsible.