Khashoggi’s case was among those highlighted at Thursday’s press conference [Emrah Gurel/The Associated Press]

Members of the US Congress, activists and families of detainees have slammed Saudi Arabia’s human rights record while urging the United States government to take action. 

The murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year and the ongoing detention of rights activists were the main issues on the table at the press conference organised by Human Rights Watch (HRW) in Washington, DC on Thursday.

Accusing the Saudi government of submitting dissidents to torture, harassment and smear campaigns, Amy Hawthorne, deputy director for research at Washington-based NGO Project on Middle East Democracy, stressed the need for the US to take a strong stand in defence of human rights.

“These efforts are part of

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