US senator introduces bill to punish Saudi Arabia over rights abuses

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A senior Republican senator in the US Congress has introduced a bipartisan bill that would punish Saudi Arabia for its extensive violations of human rights, including the war on the people of Yemen and over the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Senator James Risch, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Wednesday that the bipartisan Saudi Arabia Diplomatic Review Act calls for a detailed look at relations between the US and Saudi Arabia and seeks to hold accountable Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and other members of the kingdom’s royal family for human rights abuses.

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“It is the sense of Congress that since the promotion of Mohammed bin Salman to the position of Crown Prince with significant authorities over foreign and domestic affairs … Saudi Arabia has demonstrated increasingly erratic and disturbing conduct,” the bill states.

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Bin Salman authorized the Yemen war with help from the United Arab Emirates and a number of other regional Arab regimes in March 2015, when he was only the kingdom’s defence minister.

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The ongoing aggression, which was supposed to destroy the Houthi Ansarullah movement and reinstate Riyadh-allied fugitive former President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, has killed thousands of Yemeni people and destroyed most of the impoverished country’s infrastructures without fulfilling any of bin Salman’s objectives.

The deadly campaign has prompted fire from world leaders and activist groups, who think bin Salman should be held accountable for Riyadh’s atrocities.

Bin Salman is also under pressure for the murder of Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last October.

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Riyadh first denied that the dissident journalist had been killed but later on claimed that “rogue” officers within the Saudi intelligence had ordered and carried out the hit job.

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