Germany issuing travel bans to 18 Saudis over Khashoggi's death

Germany is banning 18 Saudi citizens suspected of being involved in Jamal Khashoggi's death from entering Europe's Schengen zone. The government says it is also halting previously approved arms exports to Saudi Arabia.

Germany has triggered proceedings to ban 18 Saudi citizens allegedly involved in the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi from entering Europe's border-free Schengen zone, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Monday.

"We still have more questions than answers in the Khashoggi case," Maas said on the sidelines of a European Union meeting in Brussels, adding that he had discussed the decision with Britain and France prior to his announcement.

The Schengen Area comprises 26 European countries. It includes most EU countries and non-EU members Norway and Switzerland.

A German Foreign Ministry spokeswoman told the Reuters news agency that Germany's privacy laws precluded her from naming the individuals.

Arms sales on ice

In another move in response to the killing, the German Economy Ministry said on Monday that it had halted all arms sales to the kingdom, even those previously approved.

A month ago, Germany said it would not give the green light to any new weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, but did not say what would happen with contracts that had already received approval.

The decision to halt exports is likely to affect the delivery of 20 patrol boats that are already under construction in the eastern state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

Other EU member states, and notably France, have so far declined to halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

Read more: Saudi Arabia is Germany's second-best weapons customer

Saudi dithering

Khashoggi was killed while visiting the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2. His body was dismembered and removed.

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Germany and the European Union have repeatedly called on Saudi authorities to clarify the circumstances of Khashoggi's death. Riyadh initially denied that he had been killed. But amid growing international pressure, it accused 11 rogue agents of carrying out the killing without its consent.

Doubts remain however about the complicity of Saudi leaders. On Saturday, US media reported that the US Central Intelligence Agency believed with "high confidence" that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman directly ordered the killing.

Germany announced it would stop selling weapons to Saudi Arabia in late October until the full facts of Khashoggi's death were "on the table."

Human Rights

Vanishes into thin air

October 2: Prominent journalist Jamal Khashoggi was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, where he had gone to obtain an official document for his upcoming marriage to his Turkish fiancee, Hatice Cengiz. He never emerged from the building, prompting Cengiz, who waited outside, to raise the alarm.

Human Rights

Confusion over whereabouts

October 3: Turkish and Saudi officials came up with conflicting reports on Khashoggi's whereabouts. Riyadh said the journalist had left the mission shortly after his work was done. But Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said the journalist was still in the consulate.

Human Rights

Murder claims

October 6: Turkish officials said they believed the journalist was likely killed inside the Saudi consulate. The Washington Post, for which Khashoggi wrote, cited unnamed sources to report that Turkish investigators believe a 15-member team "came from Saudi Arabia" to kill the man.

Human Rights

Ankara seeks proof

October 8: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on Saudi Arabia to prove that Khashoggi left its consulate in Istanbul. Turkey also sought permission to search the mission premises. US President Donald Trump voiced concern about the journalist's disappearance.

Human Rights

'Davos in the Desert' hit

October 12: British billionaire Richard Branson halted talks over a $1 billion Saudi investment in his Virgin group's space ventures, citing Khashoggi's case. He also pulled out of an investment conference in Riyadh dubbed the "Davos in the Desert." His move was followed by Uber's Dara Khosrowshahi, JP Morgan's Jamie Dimon and a host of other business leaders.

Human Rights

Search operation

October 15: Turkish investigators searched the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. The search lasted more than eight hours and investigators removed samples from the building, including soil from the consulate garden and a metal door, one official said.

Human Rights

Death after fistfight

October 19: Saudi Arabia finally admitted that Khashoggi died at the consulate. The kingdom's public prosecutor said preliminary investigations showed the journalist was killed in a "fistfight." He added that 18 people had been detained. A Saudi Foreign Ministry official said the country is "investigating the regrettable and painful incident."

Human Rights

'Grave mistake'

October 21: Saudi Arabia provided yet another account of what happened to Khashoggi. The kingdom's foreign minister admitted the journalist was killed in a "rogue operation," calling it a "huge and grave mistake," but insisted that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had not been aware of the murder. Riyadh said it had no idea where Khashoggi's body was.

Human Rights

Germany halts arms sales

October 21: German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany would put arms exports to Saudi Arabia on hold for the time being, given the unexplained circumstances of Khashoggi's death. Germany is the fourth largest exporter of weapons to Saudi Arabia after the United States, Britain and France.

Human Rights

Strangled to death, dissolved in acid

October 31: The Turkish prosecutor concluded that Khashoggi was strangled to death soon after entering the consulate, and was then dismembered. Another Turkish official later claimed the body was dissolved in acid. Turkish President Erdogan said the order to murder the journalist came from "the highest levels" of Saudi Arabia's government.

Human Rights

Grilled at the UN

November 5: Saudi Arabia told the United Nations it would prosecute those responsible for Khashoggi's murder. This came as the United States and dozens of other countries raised the journalist's death before the UN Human Rights Council and called for a transparent investigation.

Human Rights

Fiancee in mourning

November 8: Khashoggi's fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, wrote on Twitter that she was "unable to express her sorrow" upon learning that the journalist's body was dissolved with chemicals. "Are these killers and those behind it human beings?" she tweeted.

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