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US bars former Saudi diplomat from entering country

The United States has barred from entering the country Mohammed al Otaibi, who was the Saudi consul general in Istanbul in October 2018 when dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was slaughtered there.

“The murder of Jamal Khashoggi was a heinous, unacceptable crime,” the State Department said in a statement on Tuesday.

The department added that it continued to call on the Saudi government to conduct a “full, fair and transparent” trial to hold accountable those responsible for the assassination, despite the fact that the Trump administration has played down the Khashoggi murder case.

“We will continue to seek all relevant facts, consult Congress, and work with other nations to hold accountable those involved in the killing,” the department said.

Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, who was a critic of bin Salman, was hacked to death and his body was dismembered at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, on October 2, 2018.

US President Donald Trump and other administration officials had offered a weak and feckless response to the murder of Khashoggi and its subsequent cover-up by the Saudi leadership.

There is still no objective accounting – by Saudi or American officials — of what happened in the consulate, let alone any real accountability.

President Trump has repeatedly brushed aside the grisly murder, saying a Saudi pledge to purchase billions of dollars worth of US arms “means something to me.”

Trump has cited the profits that the US economy reaps from maintaining good business relations with the Saudis, particularly the Crown Prince bin Slaman.

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