State restricts visas for 76 Saudis in 'Khashoggi Ban'

State restricts visas for 76 Saudis in 'Khashoggi Ban'
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Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenBiden holds call with European leaders to talk Russia Five things to know about Russia's troop buildup near Ukraine  Malala Yousafzai urges US to take action for Afghan women and girls MORE on Friday announced visa restrictions on dozens of individuals from Saudi Arabia involved in the killing of U.S.-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and harassment of perceived political dissidents abroad.

The visa restrictions, called the "Khashoggi Ban," were announced alongside the release of declassified intelligence that said Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved Khashoggi's grisly killing in October 2018 at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

"The murder of journalist and U.S. lawful permanent resident Jamal Khashoggi shocked the world. Starting today, we will have a new global policy bearing his name to impose visa restrictions on those who engage in extraterritorial attacks on journalists or activists," Blinken said in a statement Friday.

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The visa restrictions apply to 76 Saudi individuals "believed to have been engaged in threatening dissidents overseas, including but not limited to the Khashoggi killing" and at the direction of the Saudi government, the secretary's statement read.

Families of blacklisted individuals may also be open to visa restrictions and be publicly identified, according to the statement.

Blinken further directed the State Department to report on "extraterritorial activities by any government in our annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices."

The secretary further directed the State Department to include in annual Country Reports on Human Rights any "extraterritorial activities by any government" of harassment, surveillance, threats or violence against journalists, activists or anyone perceived as a dissident because of their work.

"The United States will continue to shine a light on any government that targets individuals, either domestically or extraterritorially, merely for exercising their human rights and fundamental freedoms," the statement reads.