WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and lead author of the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, issued the following statement after the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued sanctions against 17 individuals implicated in the death of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi:
“Today’s response by the Trump Administration to a bipartisan request from the Senate for a thorough review of the disappearance and murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi is an important step toward achieving justice for Mr. Khashoggi and his family. I authored the Global Magnitsky Act to ensure accountability for individuals responsible for gross violations of human rights wherever they may occur. Given the high-level officials designated by OFAC today, paired with indictments in Saudi Arabia, I remain concerned that the administration is enabling the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in its effort to protect Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman from accountability. It is difficult for any reasonable person with knowledge of Saudi Arabia’s government to believe such high-level officials would conduct a plot of this significance without the direction of the Crown Prince.
“Since reports of Khashoggi’s disappearance emerged last month, Congress has led the effort to push for investigation, transparency, and accountability in this case. While today’s designations are an important step forward in U.S. efforts to ensure accountability for Mr. Khashoggi’s death, I call on the Trump Administration to use all tools made available through the Global Magnitsky Act and other sanctions measures to pursue justice for Jamaal Khashoggi and his family by ensuring accountability at the highest levels of the Saudi government.”