Lack of US sanctions on crown prince led to harsher sentences for critics of regime, Grant Liberty reports

The Biden administration’s failure to impose sanctions on Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, has led to a increase in severe sentences for political prisoners in the kingdom, the Guardian can reveal.

The UK-based human rights organisation Grant Liberty found that twice as many harsh sentences had been meted out to Saudi prisoners of conscience in April than in the first three months of this year combined. It followed the Biden administration’s decision on 26 February to publish an intelligence report that showed the crown prince, “approved an operation in Istanbul, Turkey, to capture or kill Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi”.

Related: Biden defends move not to punish Saudi crown prince over Khashoggi killing

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