WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) on Thursday released a statement calling on the Trump administration to immediately cease military support for the Saudi Arabia-led coalition in Yemen after multiple news outlets reported that journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi was killed at the Saudi consulate in Turkey.
“Jamal Khashoggi made a name for himself by speaking truth to power – and it most likely got him killed. Saudi Arabia needs to immediately produce evidence backing up their claim that Jamal left the consulate unharmed. If they don’t, their blanket denials without any alternative explanation only serve to reinforce the mounting evidence indicating Saudi Arabia sent a hit squad to kill him and dispose of his body,” said Murphy.
“Saudi Arabia continues to bomb civilians inside Yemen, knowingly fund an intolerant version of Islam that easily leads to radicalization, and now they feel so immune from consequences that they have reportedly kidnapped and murdered a U.S. resident who criticized the regime. These are the actions of a rogue state, not an ally, and the United States need to send an immediate signal that this behavior is unacceptable” Murphy added. “The United States cannot be in a military partnership with a country that has this little concern for human life. The Saudis continue to claim that they aren't targeting civilians inside Yemen, but how can we believe them when they apparently just hunted down and murdered an American resident whose only offense was writing critical articles about the Saudi royal family? This is the right time to suspend our military support for the disastrous bombing campaign in Yemen.”
Murphy has been a critic of U.S. support for the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen that has led to devastating humanitarian consequences and a security vacuum that has empowered terrorist groups. Murphy introduced a bipartisan resolution with U.S. Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) to end unauthorized U.S. military involvement in Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen. Murphy introduced similar legislation last year.
Earlier Wednesday, Murphy joined a bipartisan group of senators in sending a letter expressing concerns related to the Secretary’s certification last month that the governments of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have taken demonstrable actions to reduce the risk of harm to civilians. In August, Murphy renewed his call to cease support for the Saudi-led campaign following a United Nations report that found continued human rights violations. Earlier this year, Murphy introduced an amendment to the FY 2019 Department of Defense Appropriations bill that would cut off United States’ support for the Saudi Arabia-led coalition’s war in Yemen until the Secretary of Defense certified that the coalition’s air campaign is not violating international law and US policy related to the protection of civilians. Senate Republicans objected to voting on Murphy’s amendment.