Germany has banned 18 Saudi Nationals from the Schengen Zone, essentially meaning that none of them can ever set foot again in most of Europe, Business Insider is reporting.
German politician Heiko Mass told reporters on Monday that the 18 Saudis banned from the Zone are "allegedly connected to this crime." He did not provide further information.
As of this writing, no one has been tried in connection with the killing of Saudi Journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi National who had been living in exile in the United States. Khashoggi was killed when he entered the Saudi embassy in Istanbul, allegedly by a team of Saudi Arabians who tortured and dismembered him. While the majority of the international community believes he was murdered on orders from within the Saudi government, the Saudi government vehemently denies having anything to with Khashoggi's murder.
Nevertheless, though none of the 18 individuals banned have been convicted of any crimes, the Germans believe they are connected, and as such, they are unwelcome in most of Europe.
What Is The Schengen Zone?
The Schengen Zone is essentially the diplomatic extension of the European Union (EU). In essence, countries in the Zone do not require their citizens to have passports and/or visas to travel across borders within countries in the Zone. Similarly, anyone banned from entering one of the countries is banned from entering them all.
22 of the 28 EU member states are also participants in the Zone (represented in blue), the most notable exceptions being the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland (represented in gray). Three European microstates - Vatican City, San Marino, and Monaco - are not officially part of the deal but regardless participate on a de facto basis (represented as light blue circles). Four outer EU member nations - Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, and Romania - will join at a later date (represented in orange).
Who Are These 18 Saudis?
The Germans did not identify any of the 18 banned Saudis to the media, in keeping with the European tendency to not publicize the names of criminal suspects except in extremely rare circumstances. In fact, while 18 Saudi nationals have been arrested in connection with this crime, it remains uncertain (though highly likely) if the 18 arrested and the 18 banned from the Schengen Zone are the same 18 men.
Singapore newspaper Straits Times has identified the 18 men and provided brief biographical information about some of them.
It remains unclear, as of this writing, if the European nations who do not participate in the Schengen Zone will also ban any Saudi nationals in connection with the Khashoggi killing.