Five years ago today, Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi was assassinated by agents of the Saudi government at the consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.
Khashoggi was ambushed and strangled by a 15-member squad of Saudi assassins. His body was dismembered and disposed of.
The murder of Khashoggi was a horrific crime that shocked the world. It was a clear act of state-sponsored violence against a journalist who was simply exercising his right to free speech.
In the years since Khashoggi’s murder, there have been few serious efforts to bring his killers to justice.
In 2019, the Saudi government admitted that Khashoggi was killed at the consulate and sentenced five people to death. However, those sentences were later commuted to 20 years in prison.
Despite these efforts, justice for Khashoggi has still not been achieved.
Turkish scientist Hatice Cengiz was engaged to Khashoggi. On October 2, 2018, she ten hours waited for him in front of the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, but he never returned.
Despite reassuring friends that he would not face any problems inside, Khashoggi gave Cengiz two mobile phones and told her to call an adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan if he did not come back out.
The Saudi government has refused to release the full details of the murder, and the whereabouts of Khashoggi’s body are still unknown.
The anniversary of Khashoggi’s murder is a reminder of the importance of press freedom and the need to hold those who commit such crimes accountable. It is also a reminder that the Saudi government has yet to fully acknowledge its responsibility for Khashoggi’s death.
“Jamal Khashoggi’s murder was a horrific crime that must never be forgotten,” said Lisa McCormick. “The Saudi authorities must fully disclose the truth about what happened to Khashoggi and bring all those responsible to justice.”
Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Director, Lynn Maalouf
“The international community must continue to pressure the Saudi authorities to ensure that those responsible for Khashoggi’s murder are held accountable,” said Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa Director, Sarah Leah Whitson. “Until justice is done, Khashoggi’s death will continue to be a stain on the Saudi government.”
The murder of Jamal Khashoggi is a reminder that the fight for press freedom is far from over. We must continue to stand up for journalists and hold those who violate their rights accountable.