U.S. can honour Khashoggi through proposed visa ban on foreign officials - WaPo

While the United States has failed Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khoshoggi, it could protect other government critics by implementing a plan to deny visas to foreign officials who harass journalists and activists abroad, David Ignatius wrote in the Washington Post.

Khasoggi deserved better than the Biden administration’s decision against punishing the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, despite a U.S. intelligence report on his killing in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in Oct. 2018, Ignatius wrote.

A U.S. intelligence report issued last week assessed that the Saudi Crown prince had approved an operation to capture or kill Khashoggi, noting that it was “highly unlikely that Saudi officials would have carried out an operation of this nature without the Crown Prince’s authorization.”

Last week also saw the Biden administration announce sanctions and visa targeting Saudi Arabian citizens over the Khashoggi killing. But Washington stopped short of imposing sanctions on the Saudi crown prince.

Now, a proposed plan by the Statement Department for a visa ban on foreign officials targeting journalists and critics, Igantius said, “could be a significant step toward protecting future truth-tellers from torture and death.’’

Such a ban could have an impact beyond the Kingdom, Ignatius cited a senior State Department official saying.

“Dissidents and freethinking journalists from Russia, China, Egypt, Turkey and a range of other repressive regimes could gain a measure of protection through the new U.S. approach,’’ he wrote.

Following the failed coup attempt of 2016, the Turkish government has led a crackdown on opposition media. The country, along with China, is theworld's largest jailer of journalists.

Turkey currently ranks 154th out of 180 countries in the World Press Freedom Index, way below Mexico, Afghanistan and the Central African Republic.