Canada announces sanctions targeting Saudis linked to 'abhorrent' Khashoggi murder

Published Thursday, November 29, 2018 10:18AM EST
Updated Thursday, November 29, 2018 3:42PM EST
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The Canadian government has announced sanctions targeting 17 people linked to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Khashoggi was killed last month at Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul. U.S. intelligence officials have said that the murder was carried out by agents of the Saudi government and ordered by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said Thursday that the sanctions were aimed at people “responsible for or complicit in” Khashoggi’s death. People affected by the sanctions will not be able to enter Canada and will have any assets they may have in the country frozen.

Speaking with reporters in Buenos Aires, Freeland said Canada had a responsibility to react, calling Khashoggi’s murder “vile” and “premeditated.”

She said to date, Saudi Arabia’s explanation lacks consistency and credibility.

“The murder of Jamal Khashoggi is abhorrent and represents an unconscionable attack on freedom of expression and freedom of the press,” she said.

“We continue to call for a credible and independent international investigation. This case is not closed. Those responsible for Mr. Khashoggi’s death must be held to account and must face justice.”

Freeland said Canada is currently reviewing its sale of light armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia, and as that review is ongoing, no new arms permits are being issued.

She was uncertain if a face-to-face meeting between Canadian officials and bin Salman would take place during the G20 summit.

Freeland said that Canadian security officials have been in direct contact with Turkey regarding its investigation, information has been shared, and that the director of CSIS has been to Turkey.

“We believe that in naming people and in saying in the view of the Government of Canada that someone is responsible for something so serious and so odious, it’s very important to gather all the facts. It's very important to act and to speak only on the basis of real certainty,” she said.

“These are not steps that we take lightly. There are not accusations that you can make likely.”

Conservative foreign affairs critic Erin O’Toole welcomed the government’s sanctions. In a statement he said that the federal Conservatives support the decision, calling the killing “heinous.”

“Canada and its allies must continue to do their part to ensure these individuals face serious repercussions for their actions, and to send a clear message that such actions will not be tolerated by the international community,” O’Toole said.

The list of 17 Saudis sanctioned by Canada includes the following people:

  • Mansour Othman ABAHUSSAIN (born 10 or 11 August 1972)
  • Naif Hassan ALARIFI (born 28 February 1986)
  • Fahad Shabib ALBALAWI (born 24 January 1985)
  • Meshal Saad ALBOSTANI (born 27 March 1987)
  • Thaar Ghaleb ALHARBI (born 1 August 1979)
  • Abdulaziz Mohammed ALHAWSAWI (born 20 July 1987)
  • Mustafa Mohammed ALMADANI (born 8 December 1961)
  • Badr Lafi ALOTAIBI (born 6 July 1973)
  • Khalid Aedh ALOTAIBI (born 28 June 1988)
  • Mohammad AL-OTAIBI (born 6 November 1964)
  • Saif Saad ALQAHTANI (born 1973)
  • Saud AL-QAHTANI (born 7 July 1978)
  • Turki Muserref ALSEHRI (born 1982)
  • Waleed Abdullah ALSEHRI (born 5 November 1980)
  • Mohammed Saad ALZAHRANI (born 8 March 1988)
  • Maher Abdulaziz MUTREB (born 23 May 1971)
  • Salah Mohammed TUBAIGY (born 20 August 1971)

Al-Qahtani was considered a friend and close adviser of bin Salman, who fired him after Khashoggi’s death. He is believed to be one of the two men who planned and ordered the murder, along with former deputy Saudi intelligence chief Ahmed al-Assiri, who was not targeted by the sanctions.

The crown prince was also not targeted. He is expected to be in attendance this weekend when a G20 summit begins in Argentina. Although the summit focuses on global economics, analysts have said it may present an opportunity for bin Salman to receive pushback on an international stage.

“On the eve of the G20, I think it is sending the right signal to say that the normalization of Mohamed bin Salman is not going to be accepted,” Bessma Momani, a senior fellow at the Centre for International Governance and Innovation, told CTV News Channel.

Momani said the de facto Saudi leader should expect to receive the cold shoulder at the summit from the likes of Canada, France and the U.K.

“It is not in their interest to be seen shaking his hand … but let’s not kid ourselves. There will be many governments and leaders – thinking of [Russian President Vladimir] Putin or China, and even [U.S. President] Donald Trump – who are more interested in making lucrative business deals with the Saudis than frankly standing on the right side of history with respect to the moral argument,” she said.

With files from The Canadian Press