Jamal Khashoggi’s murder: how much longer will MBS benefit from the impunity he enjoyed so far?

26 Feb, 2021 | Press Releases

Brussels-Rome, 26 February 2021

No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) welcomes today’s public release of the US National Intelligence report revealing the clear evidence of the direct implication of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) for ordering and planning the gruesome killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018. This report further confirms the significant evidence already documented by the by UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions Agnès Callamard. We welcome the apparent intention on the part of the new American administration to shift gears on the relations developed between the previous administration and the Saudi Kingdom, as demonstrated through the disclosure of this report, which had been kept classified for over two years. 

The outrageous murder of Jamal Kashoggi, who had simply been exercising his right to freedom of speech, is an open wound on humanity’s collective conscience. Since 2018, Saudi Arabia has repeatedly attempted to cover up the truth and omitted or obstructed adequate justice for what was perpetrated, including through a sham trial against the immediate perpetrators of the crime that raised serious concerns about the independence and fairness of the Saudi judicial system.  

Now that the evidence of his direct responsibility has been made public and officially acknowledged by the US administration, NPWJ looks forward to seeing MBS held accountable for instigating this atrocious “state crime” and not rewarded with the impunity from which he benefited so far with the complicity of “realpolitik”. As pointed out by Hatice Cengiz – the fiancée of Jamal Khashoggi who has been fighting for two years, with NPWJ at her side, so that this assassination does not go unpunished – giving further moral leeway to the current Saudi administration, whose responsibility in Jamal’s murder is undeniable, is not an option anymore, if it ever was. 

Moreover, fighting against impunity for the murder of Jamal also means not legitimising the model of widespread repression against independent or dissident voices (human rights defenders and activists, women, lawyers, journalists, writers and bloggers) that has intensified since MBS came to power in June 2017, as well as the fateful if not ill-omened role played by KSA at the reghional and international level. 

It is way past time for the international community, and the European Union in particular, to act in a manner that is coherent with the principles and values they claim to defend. They must reconsider, at a fundamental level, their relationship with a leadership whose behaviour resembles that of a rogue regime. This means concrete actions such as the introduction of targeted sanctions towards key officials of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia directly involved in the assassination of Jamal Khashogghi, as well as stopping arms sales to a country known for his blatant disrespect of human rights.

For further information, contact Nicola Giovannini, Press & Public Affairs Coordinator, on ngiovannini@npwj.org org.

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