The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee's top senators penned a letter to US President Donald Trump pressing him to consider imposing sanctions on Saudi Arabia, in relation to alleged murder of Saudi dissident journalist, Jamal Khashoggi.

Iran Press- America/ "The recent disappearance of Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi suggests that he could be a victim of a gross violation of internationally recognized human rights," the senators wrote. This includes "torture or cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment or punishment, prolonged detention without charges and trial, causing the disappearance of persons by the abduction and clandestine detention of those persons, and other flagrant denial of the right to life, liberty, or security of person," the lawmakers said according to a Reuters report.

The senators said, "We request that you make a determination on the imposition of sanctions pursuant to the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act. Our expectation is that in making your determination you will consider any relevant information, including with respect to the highest ranking officials in the Government of Saudi Arabia."

Sens. Bob Corker (R-TN), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) were signatories of the letter. Corker and Menendez are chairman and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, respectively. 

Initial reports have suggested Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate and his body disposed of or transported elsewhere afterward, but these reports have yet to be confirmed.

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As of 8 October, the journalist's status remained "missing" according to Reuters, and there is more to Khashoggi's past than just being a journalist and columnist, as he also has ties to US intelligence agencies and the bin Laden family.

Khashoggi had lived in self-imposed exile in Washington for the past year, saying he feared retribution for his criticism of Saudi policies.

Human rights groups have called on Saudi Arabia to verify his whereabouts. Human Rights Watch said if Saudi Arabia had detained Khashoggi without acknowledging it, his detention would constitute an enforced disappearance.

Khashoggi is a familiar face on political talk shows on Arab satellite television networks and used to advise Prince Turki al-Faisal, former Saudi intelligence chief and ambassador to the United States and Britain.

Over the past year he has written columns for newspapers including the Washington Post, criticizing Saudi policies toward Qatar and Canada, the war in Yemen and a crackdown on dissent at home, where dozens of people have been detained.

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