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DUBAI: The family of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi denied on Wednesday being in talks to reach a settlement out of court with Saudi authorities following reports that his sons had taken payouts.

“Currently, the trial is taking place and no settlement discussion had been or is discussed,” read an English statement posted to Salah Khashoggi’s verified Twitter account.

The Washington Post on April 1 reported Khashoggi’s children, including Salah, had received multimillion-dollar homes and were being paid thousands of dollars per month by authorities.

Khashoggi’s son said only the family and their attorney were authorised to “claim to be a source of information”.

The statement did not openly confirm or deny possible reparations from the Saudi king or crown prince, whom the family called “guardians to all Saudis”.

“Acts of generosity and humanity come from the high moral grounds they possess, not admission of guilt or scandal,” the statement said.

According to the Post, the payments to his four children — two sons and two daughters — “are part of an effort by Saudi Arabia to reach a long-term arrangement with Khashoggi family members, aimed in part at ensuring that they continue to show restraint in their public statements”.

The Khashoggi murder has sparked international outcry and calls to end arms sales to Saudi Arabia, which leads a regional military campaign battling Yemeni rebels linked to Iran.

At least seven writers and bloggers were arrested in Saudi Arabia on Friday, according to rights groups, in the first major crackdown since Khashoggi’s murder.

The US State Department on Monday also barred entry to 16 Saudi nationals under the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act.

The section in question “provides that, in cases where the Secretary of State has credible information that officials of foreign governments have been involved in significant corruption or gross violations of human rights, those individuals and their immediate family members are ineligible for entry into the United States”.

The State Department has also frozen the assets of some Saudi citizens over the Khashoggi affair.

Published in Dawn, April 11th, 2019