G20 leaders should hold Saudi Arabia accountable for lack of press freedom

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Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia at the 2019 G20 summit in Osaka, Japan, 29 June 2019. EPA-EFE/ANDY RAIN / POOL

Kingdom has failed to provide justice for Jamal Khashoggi

 

Media www.rajawalisiber.com – The International Press Institute (IPI), a global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists for press freedom, today called on the leaders of the G20 nations to urge Saudi Arabia to bring the masterminds behind the gruesome of Jamal Khashoggi to justice.

In a statement issued ahead of the G20 Summit in Riyadh scheduled to be held on November 21 and 22, IPI urged the G20 leaders to hold Saudi Arabia accountable for the repressive press freedom environment in the Kingdom and to demand the release of all imprisoned journalists.

“The decision to hold the G20 in Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s worst human rights predators, is outrageous and should be an embarrassment to the rest of the G20 countries”, IPI Deputy Director Scott Griffen said. “But The Kingdom’s slick branding can’t hide the fact that there is still no justice for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. The G20 representatives that still choose to participate in this event despite the horrendous optics should demand that Khashoggi’s killers be held to account and that all jailed journalists in the country be released.”

Saudi Arabia has made a mockery of justice in the gruesome 2018 murder of Washington Post Jamal Khashoggi. A well-known critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Khashoggi, disappeared on October 2, 2018 when he visited the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul to collect some documents ahead of his planned marriage to his Turkish fiancée. He was murdered and his body dismembered inside the consulate by a hit team sent from Riyadh. So far, his remains have not been found.

An inquiry conducted by U.N. Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard had concluded that Khashoggi was the victim of a of “a deliberate, premeditated execution, an extrajudicial killing for which the state of Saudi Arabia is responsible under international human rights law”.  An assessment by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, published in several newspapers after the murder of Khashoggi, said that Mohammed bin Salman had ordered the killing.

After intense international pressure, the Saudi government admitted that Khashoggi had been murdered in what it described as a “rogue operation”. However, it then charged 11 without revealing their names or their alleged role in the killing. The trial that began in March 2019 was shrouded in secrecy and despite requests by the United Nations, international observers were not allowed to attend the proceedings. In December, five of the suspects were sentenced to death (later overturned) and three others were given prison sentences, while the remaining three were exonerated.

Following the September verdicts Callamard said in a series of tweets  that “high-level officials who organized and embraced the execution of Jamal Khashoggi have walked free from the start – barely touched by the investigation and trial. As for the individual responsibility of the person on top of the State, the Crown Prince Mohammed Ben Salman, he has remained well protected against any kind of meaningful scrutiny in his country.” (News Sources: The International Press Institute (IPI)

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