US rep. introduces bill to ban Saudi arms sales

By Umar Farooq

WASHINGTON (AA) – A bill in the House of Representatives would halt arms sales to the Saudi Arabia unless Secretary of State Mike Pompeo certifies it did not order the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.

Massachusetts Democratic congressman Jim McGovern, co-chair of the Human Rights Commission and the ranking member of the House Rules Committee, took the lead on the legislation, saying reports about Khashoggi "represent a brazen violation of international norms."

The legislation states U.S. military aid and sales to Saudi Arabia would be prohibited, pending confirmation from Pompeo on the status of Khashoggi.

“If the United States stands for anything, we need to stand out loud and foursquare for human rights. Our values are our strength, and we cannot be indifferent or complicit when those values are undermined or attacked," McGovern said in a statement last week.

Khashoggi has not been seen since he entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 as fears mount he was killed.

Multiple reports have cited audio and video recordings containing grisly details of his alleged killing at the hands of Saudi operatives after he entered the consulate.

Other U.S. lawmakers have also taken similar stances on Saudi Arabia, saying sanctions are necessary if reports of the journalist's death are true.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham warned there would be "hell to pay" if Khashoggi was killed.

According to the Intercept news website, the bill, introduced to the House on Tuesday, is being co-sponsored by six Democrats and two Republican lawmakers.

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