As the diplomatic fallout triggered by the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi intensified last month, Germany became the first country to step up and ban arms sales to the kingdom, effectively cancelling a sale worth some $500 million. Now, Europe's biggest economy is again leading the Continent's push to "hold the Saudis accountable" by barring 18 Saudis suspected of being involved in Khashoggi's murder from entering the EU's passport-free travel area, according to Bloomberg.
of being involved in Khashoggi's murder from entering the EU's passport-free travel area, according to Bloomberg.
While a complete list of the people banned wasn't released, Bloomberg said it includes the 15 members of the suspected Saudi hit squad (many of whom have been arrested by the Kingdom's public prosecutor) as well as Saud al-Qahtani, formerly a senior aide and confidant to Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman who is believed to have overseen the killing. Al-Qahtani was also included in a list of 17 Saudis who were sanctioned by the US Treasury Department.
Coordinated with France and the U.K., the notice applies to the European Union's so-called Schengen area, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said in Brussels. The list includes Saud al-Qahtani, a senior adviser to Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and a 15-member team suspected of carrying out the murder, a German government official said.
"There are more questions than answers in the clarification of this case, both regarding the act itself and who is behind it," Maas told reporters on Monday. EU member states will consider additional measures, he said.
Khashoggi's murder and the ensuing scandal once again put a damper on Saudi-German relations following a recent thaw that culminated with the arms deal. Germany's decision also followed reports that the CIA has determined that Saudi de facto ruler MbS likely gave the order that led to Khashoggi's execution (though, to be sure, the report specified that the circumstances, as well as MbS's motivations, remained murky).