(Washington D.C., March 3, 2021) — Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), the organization founded by Jamal Khashoggi before his murder in 2018, welcomes Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton's letter that was sent to DC Council last week supporting a bill to rename the street in front of the Saudi Arabian Embassy as "Jamal Khashoggi Way."
"Congresswoman Norton's support sends an important message to the Saudi government, that the city hosting its embassy stands against violent suppression of dissent," said Raed Jarrar, advocacy director of DAWN, Democracy for the Arab World Now, the organization that Khashoggi founded months before his 2018 murder by Saudi officials in Istanbul.]
On January 15, 2021, the DC Council introduced the Jamal Khashoggi Way Designation Act of 2021. The Act would rename the street in front of the Saudi Arabian Embassy as "Jamal Khashoggi Way." Congresswoman Norton on Friday sent a letter to the Council supporting the legislation.
Last week, Congresswoman Norton wrote: "I support the Jamal Khashoggi Way Designation Act of 2021 (B24-22), which would symbolically designate New Hampshire Avenue NW between Virginia Avenue NW and F Street NW as 'Jamal Khashoggi Way.' It is fitting that the road in front of the Embassy for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia would be designated as Jamal Khashoggi Way. Jamal Khashoggi was a Washington Post columnist, a resident of the national capital region, and an advocate for human rights."
Her letter notes that: "The U.S. Intelligence Community has concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing of Khashoggi," and states that renaming the street in front of the Saudi Embassy "would serve as a constant reminder to Saudi government officials that the U.S. remains committed to promoting democracy, freedom of the press and freedom of speech and that the brutal murder of Khashoggi will not be forgotten." Norton closed by saying, "I commend Councilmember Pinto for introducing this bill and support the Council passing this important bill to honor the legacy of Jamal Khashoggi."
Jamal Khashoggi's killing sparked worldwide outrage, including in Washington DC, where, in addition to his journalistic work, Khashoggi was Executive Director of DAWN. Following his murder on October 2, 2018, activists in D.C. launched a petition to rename the street outside the Saudi Arabian Embassy after Mr. Khashoggi. Almost 10,000 people signed the petition. The Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC), where the Saudi Arabian Embassy is located, issued a resolution calling on the D.C. Council to rename the street.
"With this Congressional letter of support, Congresswoman Norton and her constituent DC residents are asking the DC Council to do the right thing," said Raed Jarrar, DAWN's Advocacy Director. "Chairman Mendelson should schedule a public hearing and bring the resolution up for a vote as soon as possible."
Renaming the street would uphold the recommendations of the United Nations, as reflected in Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard's investigation and report on the extrajudicial assassination of Jamal Khashoggi. The report urged Washington D.C. to "erect a memorial to Mr. Khashoggi's stand for freedom of the press in front of the Saudi [Embassy]" or to rename the street in his honor.
DAWN encourages DC residents to ask Chairman Mendelson to bring the resolution to a vote by calling his office at (202) 724-8196 or sending an email to email@example.com.
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