On Monday, the US State Department closed the entry to 16 Saudi nationals over what it described as their role in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. After President Donald Trump has faced pressure from Congress over its response to the killing, his secretary Mike Pompeo made the announcement.

It was declared by the State Department by a statement the names of the individuals and said they had been designated under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act of 2019.

The section “provides that, in cases where the Secretary of State has credible information that officials of foreign governments have been involved in significant corruption or gross violations of human rights, those individuals and their immediate family members are ineligible for entry into the United States.”

“The law requires the Secretary of State to publicly or privately designate such officials and their immediate family members.”

Earlier, the State Department had revoked the visas of nearly two dozen Saudi officials as well as froze the assets of 17 others. Khashoggi, a critic of  Saudi was murdered and dismembered on October 2 in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul by a team of 15 agents sent from Riyadh. His dead body was never discovered.

Saudi Arabia had denied the murder and claimed the murder was executed by agents who were out of control. This year, in Saudi Arabia a trial of 11 suspects was opened.

The US Senate after having a closed-door meeting adopted a  resolution in December claiming that Saudi Arabia’s powerful crown prince Mohammed bin Salman is “responsible” for the murder while President Donald Trump has refused to publicly take a stand.

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