A Year after Khashoggi’s Murder
One year since the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the U.N.’s special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, a Yemeni Nobel Laureate and the owner of the Washington Post were among mourners who gathered outside the Saudi Arabian Consulate in Istanbul to Commemorate his death. In the garden in front of the Saudi Arabian consulate Hatice Cengiz unveiled a memorial stone for her fiancée.
On 26 June 2019, Special Rapporteur for extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions, Ms. Agnes Kalamard, accused the Saudi government of killing journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and called on all governments to exercise their universal rights to detain and investigate anyone who may have been involved in the killing, even if he was Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The Special Rapporteur’s report indicated that Saudi officials had hidden Khashoggi’s body and called on the Saudi government to reveal the whereabouts. His family demanded also the body for proper burial. The Saudi government has not responded to the demands, and a year after his death, the whereabouts of his body remain unknown.
“Any talk of assuming responsibility for Jamal Khashoggi’s killing is meaningless if not met with the immediate and unconditional release of dozens of individuals who continue to languish in prison, and who continue to be at risk of torture and other ill-treatment, solely for having expressed their opinion in a peaceful manner,” said Lynn Maalouf, Middle East Research Director at Amnesty International.
Marking the first anniversary since Jamal Khashoggi’s extrajudicial execution, Saudi Arabian activists abroad – supported by Amnesty International – are launching a podcast series called “The Great Saudi Arabia”, focusing on different human rights issues affecting the country. The first series focuses on the story of Jamal Khashoggi. At the heart of this initiative is the activists’ desire to demonstrate to everyone in Saudi Arabia and the world at large that extreme measures of repression will not stop them from expressing their views, tell their own stories and continue their fight for the release of other human rights defenders who are paying a hefty price for speaking out.
An ongoing trial in Saudi Arabia of 11 suspects charged for their involvement in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, which began in January 2019, has been closed to the public and lacking any form of transparency. Other than the attendance of diplomats, Saudi officials have not permitted independent monitoring of the proceedings. Five suspects face the death penalty as per the Prosecution’s request. Moreover, Saudi authorities have not stopped the sweeping campaign of repression against dissidents and activists, of which Khashoggi was a victim.
In response to this and other egregious Saudi abuses, other countries should support targeted sanctions on members of the Saudi leadership responsible for ongoing human rights violations and retain the sanctions until they end the violations, Human Rights Watch said. In addition to supporting targeted sanctions, countries should halt sales of advanced surveillance equipment to Saudi Arabia until it stops targeting independent dissidents and activists for repression and releases those convicted in unfair trials. Companies doing business in Saudi Arabia should adhere to international human rights standards and create monitoring systems to ensure that their business activities do not harm human rights.
In a symbolic and impressive action, activists in the Netherlands renamed the street where the Saudi embassy in The Hague is located to honor journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The event was organized by Amnesty International and saw Yahya Assiri, director of human rights organization ALQST, unveil the street sign, which reads "Khashoggi Canal". A caption underneath the street name reads: "Journalist murdered by Saudi Arabia". The event was part of several planned across Europe by Amnesty International to honor Jamal Khashoggi.
In Belgium, activists plan on renaming street signs around the Saudi embassy to "Khashoggi Street", while campaigners in Norway will plan a "crime scene" event in front of the Saudi embassy in Oslo.
“The Saudi Arabian government should make clear to the world that it would be willing to cooperate with a UN investigation, including allowing access to evidence and suspects implicated in the crime in Saudi Arabia,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. The Saudi government also should offer some remedy to those injured by its crime by apologizing to Khashoggi’s family, friends, and associates, and apologizing to the US and Turkish governments for murdering a US resident on Turkish soil.