The European Parliament has urged the European Union member states to impose an arms embargo on Saudi Arabia over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the war in Yemen.
In the EU arms export report adopted on Thursday, EU lawmakers urge all members of the bloc to “follow the example of Germany, Finland and Denmark, which, after the killing of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi adopted restrictions on their arms exports to Saudi Arabia”.
The document also points out that arms exported to Saudi Arabia, the UAE, as well as other members of the Saudi-led coalition in the Yemen war, had been used in the country, “where 22 million people find themselves in need of humanitarian aid and protection”.
The report also urges the remaining EU countries to impose similar sanctions to prevent further civilian suffering in the Yemen conflict.
Khashoggi, the 59-year-old columnist for The Washington Post, was killed and dismembered by a group of Saudi operatives shortly after he entered the country’s consulate in the Turkish city of Istanbul in October 2018.
Riyadh offered conflicting narratives to explain his disappearance before acknowledging he was murdered in the diplomatic building in a “rogue operation”.
Earlier this month, the Riyadh Criminal Court commuted death sentences and handed down prison terms of up to 20 years to the convicts, saying they were pardoned by the journalist’s family. They were sentenced to death last year.
UN human rights investigator Agnes Callamard also called the Saudi prosecutor’s verdict on the murder a “parody of justice” that spared “high-level” plotters.
Yemen has been in violence and chaos since 2014, when Iran-backed Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including the capital, Sanaa, and forced President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to flee the country the following year.
The crisis escalated in 2015 when a Saudi-led military coalition launched a devastating air campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi territorial gains.
Tens of thousands of Yemenis, including civilians, are believed to have been killed in the conflict, which has led to one of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis with 3.65 million internally displaced people and 15 million in need of immediate humanitarian aid.