2 October: Three years of impunity for Jamal Khashoggi’s murder

2 Oct, 2021 | Press Releases

Jospeh Borrell to visit Saudi Arabia on the anniversary of the gruesome killing

On 2 October, three years ago, a team of Saudi special forces and security agents killed journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. But killing him was not enough: Khashoggi had to disappear. His body was dismembered and removed from the consulate; his remains have not been found to this day.

The only thing Khashoggi was “guilty” of, for which he paid with his life, was criticizing the increasingly repressive policies of the government in Riyadh.

On 26 February this year, the United States intelligence report on the “Role of the Government of Saudi Arabia in the Murder of Jamal Kashoggi” was made public. The report unambiguously states that Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS), who rules the Saudi government, approved the operation to capture and kill Khashoggi.

For No Peace Without Justice, which has been following the story since the beginning alongside Jamal’s fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, this was a confirmation of what seemed clear from the beginning: Jamal’s murder was a State-sanctioned and State-led crime.

The US report is further confirmation of the significant evidence on the case which was already well documented by the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, Agnès Callamard. Since 2 October 2018, Saudi Arabia has repeatedly attempted to cover up the truth and has withheld and obstructed justice, including through a sham trial of the alleged perpetrators of the crime.

As Hatice Cengiz points out, “giving further moral space to the current Saudi administration, whose responsibility in Jamal’s murder is undeniable, is no longer an option.” Fighting impunity for Jamal’s murder also means not legitimising the pattern of widespread repression against the independent voices of human rights defenders, activists, dissident women, lawyers, journalists, writers and bloggers that has intensified since MBS took power.

There is a need for a deeper rethinking of European and international relations with a leadership whose behaviour resembles that of a rogue State. Sadly, and somewhat unbelievably, the High Representative for Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell, has choosen 2 October as the date to make an official visit to Saudi Arabia. This is no way to signal anything except acceptance of the impunity that has reigned for those responsible for Jamal Khashoggi’s murder and the ongoing violations and repressions in Saudi Arabia.

On this sad day, we join the unjustly imprisoned activists, dissident women and journalists far from their homeland in remembering Jamal Khashoggi.