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Connolly Introduces the Protection of Saudi Dissidents Act

Legislation would hold Saudi Arabia accountable for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi

Today, Representative Gerry Connolly (D-VA), a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee introduced the Protection of Saudi Dissidents Act. The legislation would hold Saudi Arabia accountable for the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi and impose a cost to Saudi Arabia for continuing to engage in such acts of intimidation and violence going forward.

“Almost one year ago my constituent, Jamal Khashoggi, was brutally murdered simply because he believed in the basic rights of every human being,” said Congressman Connolly. “The best way that we can honor Jamal’s legacy is by pursuing that to which he dedicated his life – the truth – and by protecting his colleagues from falling victim to the same fate.”

“The U.S. government cannot turn a blind eye to this attack on the press. A free society cannot allow that,” Connolly added. “We will get justice for Jamal, no matter how high it goes, and we know how high it goes.”

This Protection of Saudi Dissidents Act would:

• Prohibit arms sales—regardless of the amount—to Saudi intelligence, internal security or law enforcement for 120 days, and for every 120 days thereafter until Saudi Arabia meets certain human rights conditions;
• Require a report on whether Saudi authorities engaged in intimidation or harassment of Jamal Khashoggi or any individual in the United States;
• Require the review and potential closure of Saudi diplomatic facilities if they are being used to surveil Saudi nationals living in the United States; and
• Require the Intelligence Community to report on whether it fulfilled its duty to warn Khashoggi of an impending threat against him.

Despite bipartisan congressional efforts to hold Saudi Arabia accountable, the Trump administration has continued to provide arms and military training to the Saudis. In June, Connolly successfully offered an amendment to the FY 2020 Appropriations Package that would bar Saudi Arabia from receiving assistance provided by the International Military Education and Training program.

Text of the legislation is available here.

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