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Travel State Department 'Khashoggi Ban' Restricts Visas for Those Who Target Journalists, Activists

04:25  27 february  2021
04:25  27 february  2021 Source:   newsweek.com

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“The Khashoggi Ban allows the State Department to impose visa restrictions on individuals who , acting on behalf of a foreign government, are believed to have been directly engaged in serious, extraterritorial counter-dissident activities, including those that suppress, harass, surveil, threaten, or The 76 Saudi individuals subject to visa restrictions “believed to have been engaged in threatening dissidents overseas, including but not limited to the Khashoggi killing,” Blinken said. He said that these visa restrictions , in conjunction with the report, will reinforce condemnation of Khashoggi ’s murder.

The Khashoggi Ban allows the State Department to impose visa restrictions on individuals who , acting on behalf of a foreign government, are believed to have been directly engaged in serious, extraterritorial counter-dissident activities, including those that suppress, harass, surveil, threaten, or harm journalists , activists , or other persons perceived to be dissidents for their work, or who To that end, we have made absolutely clear that extraterritorial threats and assaults by Saudi Arabia against activists , dissidents, and journalists must end. They will not be tolerated by the United States .

The State Department on Friday announced a new policy, the "Khashoggi ban," that will allow the U.S. to impose visa restrictions on individuals who target journalists and dissidents on behalf of foreign governments.

A man holds a poster of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a protest organized by members of the Turkish-Arabic Media Association at the entrance to Saudi Arabia's consulate on October 8, 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey. The United States will be imposing new visa restrictions, a policy named the © Chris McGrath/Getty A man holds a poster of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a protest organized by members of the Turkish-Arabic Media Association at the entrance to Saudi Arabia's consulate on October 8, 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey. The United States will be imposing new visa restrictions, a policy named the "Khashoggi Ban," saying it will not tolerate individuals who threaten or assault dissidents and journalists on behalf of foreign governments.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement that the restrictions will focus on individuals who "are believed to have been directly engaged in serious, extraterritorial counter-dissident activities, including those that suppress, harass, surveil, threaten, or harm journalists, activists, or other persons perceived to be dissidents for their work."

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Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken also announced a “ Khashoggi Ban ,” allowing his department to impose visa restrictions on people suppressing or harming journalists , activists and dissidents. Prince Mohammed viewed Mr. Khashoggi as a threat and “broadly supported using violent measures if necessary” to suppress his voice, the intelligence report concluded. American intelligence agencies learned that Saudi officials had planned an unspecified operation against Mr. Khashoggi , but the report said the United States has not learned when Saudi officials decided to harm him.

Biden, who said he has read the report, is insisting that he speak only to the king. Reuters, citing four officials familiar with the matter, reported late on Wednesday that the assessment would find Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had approved and likely ordered the murder. Before last year’s presidential election, Biden said Saudi Arabia deserved to be treated as a “pariah” for its murder of Khashoggi – a critical voice against the Saudi government – and for Prince Mohammed’s targeting of critics. But some analysts now predict that the administration will have to take more measured steps.

The U.S. has already banned from the U.S. 76 Saudi individuals "believed to have been engaged in threatening dissidents overseas, including but not limited to the Khashoggi killing," Blinken said.

"As a matter of safety for all within our borders, perpetrators targeting perceived dissidents on behalf of any foreign government should not be permitted to reach American soil," the secretary of state added.

Asked about the identities of the individuals already banned, a State Department spokesperson told Newsweek that "under U.S. law, individual visa records are confidential, and we cannot provide details as to who is or will be included in the Khashoggi ban.

The spokesperson added that the policy "will give us an additional tool to promote a measure of accountability for those who act to harm journalists and perceived dissidents for their work. It will allow us to prevent bad actors from traveling to the United States by revoking and restricting issuance of visas."

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Journalist quizzes man masquerading as investor targeting researchers who reported Israeli software used to spy on Khashoggi . The researchers who reported that Israeli software was used to spy on Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi ‘s inner circle before his death are being targeted by international undercover operatives, an investigation by the Associated Press has revealed. Twice in the past two months, men masquerading as socially conscious investors have lured members of the Citizen Lab internet watchdog group to meetings at luxury hotels to quiz them for hours about their work

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The announcement came just after the release of a U.S. intelligence report that said Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved the operation to capture or kill journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

"Since 2017, the Crown Prince has had absolute control of the Kingdom's security and intelligence organizations, making it highly unlikely that Saudi officials would have carried out an operation of this nature without the Crown Prince's authorization," the report said.

Khashoggi, a 59-year-old U.S. resident and contributor to The Washington Post, was killed and dismembered after entering a Saudi consulate in Turkey in October 2018. It is still not known what happened to his remains. Khashoggi was a former Saudi royal insider and had frequently criticized the government.

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U.S. DEPARTMENT of STATE — BUREAU of CONSULAR AFFAIRS. Travel. State .Gov > U.S. Visas News > Presidential Proclamations on Novel Coronavirus. Previous COVID-related Presidential Proclamations that remain in force are listed below. On January 31, 2020, President Trump signed a proclamation suspending entry into the United States of aliens who were physically present in the People’s Republic of China, excluding the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau, within the 14 days preceding entry or attempted entry into the United States .

Some of those implicated are close to the prince, whose condemnation of the killing has failed to ease suspicions he was involved. In a video message to a memorial in Washington for the murdered journalist , Ms Cengiz urged Mr Trump to support Turkey’s request for Saudi Arabia to extradite those it has detained in connection with the killing. On Thursday, US state department spokesman Robert Palladino told reporters Mr Khashoggi 's remains should be located and returned for a proper burial. Additional reporting by agencies.

"The Crown Prince viewed Khashoggi as a threat to the Kingdom and broadly supported using violent measures if necessary to silence him," the intelligence report said. "Although Saudi officials had pre-planned an unspecified operation against Khashoggi we do not know how far in advance Saudi officials decided to harm him."

At first, Saudi officials denied any involvement in Khashoggi's killing. But weeks after his disappearance, the government's leaders said he died in "rogue operation" by a team of agents sent to persuade him to return to the kingdom.

Last year, Saudi Arabia said eight people were sentenced to prison for Khashoggi's killing. The sentences were between seven and 20 years, officials said. None of the defendants were named.

Khashoggi's fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, criticized the trial and said the eight people imprisoned weren't responsible.

"The Saudi authorities are closing the case without the world knowing the truth of who is responsible for Jamal's murder," Cengiz wrote in a statement. "Who planned it, who ordered it, where is his body?"

This story has been updated to include a comment from a State Department spokesperson.

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