In 2018, opposition journalist Jamal Khashoggi was brutally assassinated by Saudi Arabian agents.

Were there any sanctions for that act?


2 Answers 2


As you can read on the wikipedia article on the topic, the direct reactions from most governments was mostly symbolic in form of official statements condemning the assassination, calls for investigations and statements of intend regarding future dealings with Saudi Arabia. Some countries, especially but not only in the Arab world, did actually take the side of SA in this matter or downplayed the incident.

However, there were actually a couple tangible reactions:

  • Germany and Norway stated that they are no longer going to export arms to Saudi Arabia (although they also justified that with SAs handling of the Jemeni crisis). As of writing this answer, the German parliament has kept that promise and did not approve any weapon exports to SA in 2019 or 2020. I couldn't find any information on Norwegian arms exports which is that up-to-date.
  • The Schengen zone and the United States imposed travel bans on individual people believed to be involved in the assassination
  • Various private companies and organizations reduced or stopped their cooperation with Saudi-Arabia.
  • 2
    The German government is famously non-committed on the export ban: They have internally agreed to not sell weapons to any country which is "directly involved in the Jemeni war" but have not yet decided about the list of countries (e.g. the USA?). Feb 12, 2021 at 14:07
  • 4
    @MartinSchröder That's a different topic, though. This question is about Saudi Arabia. And as the document I linked to shows, the Bundestag didn't approve any weapon exports to SA in the past two years.
    – Philipp
    Feb 12, 2021 at 14:42

There were some direct sanctions against individuals

The United States imposed economic sanctions on 17 Saudi officials on Thursday for their role in the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, as Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor sought the death penalty for five suspects in the murder.

The measure was unusual for Washington, which rarely imposes sanctions on Saudi nationals. The sanctions do not target the Riyadh government, an important U.S. security and economic ally.

Those five charged were convicted of his murder

The Saudi government said the journalist was killed in a "rogue operation" and the following year Saudi prosecutors put 11 unnamed individuals on trial.

In December 2019, the Riyadh Criminal Court sentenced five people to death for "committing and directly participating in the murder of the victim". Three others were handed prison sentences totalling 24 years for "covering up this crime and violating the law".
Three people were found not guilty, including Saudi Arabia's former deputy intelligence chief, Ahmad Asiri.

The Saudi court later commuted the death sentences after Khashogghi's son (who lives in Saudi Arabia) publicly accepted the contention that his father's death was an accident

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