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Trump faces heat ahead of US Congress deadline for Khashoggi murder probe

Khashoggi, a contributor to The Washington Post who lived in self-imposed exile in Virginia, was killed when he visited the conservative kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on Oct 2 last y

AFP | PTI  |  Washington 

Donald Trump
Donald Trump. Photo: Reuters

Rights groups pressed US to take action over Saudi Arabia's killing of dissident on the eve of a Friday deadline by to punish perpetrators.

Khashoggi, a contributor to who lived in self-imposed exile in Virginia, was killed and dismembered when he visited the conservative kingdom's consulate in on October 2.

A special UN rapporteur said Thursday that the killing was "planned and perpetrated" by Saudi officials.

In October, the then top Republican and Democrat on the invoked the Magnitsky Act, which gave the 120 days -- until February 8 -- to determine who was behind Khashoggi's killing and to describe actions against them.

The law, which targets extrajudicial killings and torture, is named for Sergei Magnitsky, an who died in Russian custody.

In a joint statement Thursday accompanied by a rally outside the White House, six advocacy groups including Human Rights Watch, and the Committee to Protect Journalists urged Trump to lay out action over Khashoggi's killing and to release CIA records on the death.

"Notwithstanding public and congressional outrage and the reported findings of the CIA, the appears to be engaged in a cover-up on behalf of the Saudi government," they wrote.

The groups called for "an effective, independent, investigation" and the immediate release of other journalists and activists detained in

The kingdom's promises to prosecute those responsible have turned into a "sham," the groups said, with senior officials resigning rather than facing repercussions.

The revoked visas for nearly two dozen Saudi officials over Khashoggi's killing and froze assets of some 17

But Trump also said in a blunt statement that the killing was not worth jeopardising the alliance with Saudi Arabia, crediting the kingdom with buying US weapons and supporting its hard line on regional rival

First Published: Fri, February 08 2019. 01:45 IST