In Memory of Slain Journalist, Second City in the U.S. Honors Khashoggi's Commitment to Human Rights and Press Freedom
(Washington, D.C., May 26, 2023) — The Los Angeles City Council has voted to pass Council Resolution 23-0349, a bill designating a portion of Wilshire Boulevard from Centinela Avenue to McClellan Drive as "Jamal Khashoggi Way," said Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN) in its statement today.
DAWN worked closely with city council representatives to secure the passage of the resolution to rename the street, located outside the Saudi Consulate in Los Angeles, in honor of the late founder of DAWN and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. This follows on the organization's successful efforts to rename as "Jamal Khashoggi Way," the street in front of the Saudi Embassy in Washington, D.C.
"The Los Angeles City Council's decision to rename the street outside the Saudi Consulate as 'Jamal Khashoggi Way' is a testament to our collective commitment to freedom of expression – and accountability for Khashoggi's murder by Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman," said Raed Jarrar, Advocacy Director at DAWN. "As we honor Jamal's legacy, we also send a strong message that even as some rush to pander to the Saudi government for a few coins, we will continue to fight for justice and accountability for all those responsible for his murder."
Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi-born journalist residing in the United States, was brutally murdered at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, on October 2, 2018. U.S. intelligence reports concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) dispatched the 15-man hit squad responsible for his murder. The United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions, Agnes Callamard, found the State of Saudi Arabia responsible for the murder and called upon the international community to ensure accountability for the crime and to memorialize Khashoggi through symbolic measures, such as events or awards in his honor.
"Renaming the street that overlooks the Saudi Consulate underscores our city's admiration for Jamal Khashoggi's legacy while simultaneously reaffirming our unwavering commitment to uphold our fundamental principles," said Los Angeles Councilwoman Traci Park, one of the bill's co-sponsors.
A public ceremony to officially designate "Jamal Khashoggi Way" will be held later this year, with additional information to be announced in the coming weeks.
In 2021, the Washington, D.C. Council voted unanimously to pass the Jamal Khashoggi Way Designation Act, mandating the renaming of a portion of the street directly in front of the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington, D.C. as "Jamal Khashoggi Way." D.C. Councilmember Brooke Pinto, who supported the renaming, highlighted the importance of honoring Khashoggi's courage and the fundamental role of press freedom in democracy. This initiative in the nation's capital, like the one in Los Angeles, aims to memorialize the late journalist and founder of DAWN while emphasizing the necessity of holding those responsible for his murder accountable.
While the Biden administration implemented an executive order to sanction foreign agents carrying out acts of extraterritorial repression, named the "Khashoggi Ban" in honor of Khashoggi, it has failed to take any measures to hold the principal culprit, MBS, to account. In 2022, the State Department intervened to quash DAWN and Hatice Cengiz's lawsuit against MBS and his co-conspirators for the murder of Khashoggi to suggest that the crown prince be granted immunity on the pretense of his status as temporary prime minister. Although President Biden pledged to ban arms sales to Saudi Arabia, his administration resumed over $3 billion in arms sales by claiming that they were defensive in nature.
"I'm proud that my hometown of Los Angeles has demonstrated its commitment to upholding human rights and freedom of the press while honoring the memory of our late founder," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Executive Director of DAWN. "With this memorial, we reaffirm the principles Jamal so fervently believed in and fought for, and that continues to resonate with people around the world. Nearly five years since his murder, we at DAWN remain steadfast in our pursuit of justice for Jamal and in carrying forward his vision of a more democratic and just Arab world."