Saudi Arabia: Reveal Whereabouts of Khashoggi’s Remains
Washington, DC, Friday, October 2, 2020: On the second anniversary of the brutal murder of Saudi journalist and rights activist Jamal Khashoggi, the organization he founded, Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), called on the United States to stop shielding the top Saudi officials responsible for his death.
“Rather than cozy up to the Saudi officials who ordered Khashoggi’s gruesome murder, the Trump administration should provide the transparency that Congress has demanded regarding our government’s knowledge about Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman’s role in this crime,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Executive Director of DAWN. “The Trump Administration has violated America’s own law by keeping the Department of National Intelligence’s report on its findings about this murder secret from the American public.”
Khashoggi, who was also a Washington Post contributing columnist critical of the Saudi government, was murdered and dismembered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in a pre-planned attack that the U.S. intelligence community concluded was ordered by the Saudi heir apparent, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS).
U.S. President Donald Trump has gone to great pains to shield MBS from responsibility, calling the Crown Prince a “friend” and reportedly telling a journalist, “I saved his a**.” President Trump has vetoed legislation that would ban arms sales to the Kingdom for its role in human rights abuses, including the killing of civilians in the Yemen war and the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. The Trump Administration also has defied legislation passed with overwhelming bipartisan support requiring it to release the Department of National Intelligence report identifying those responsible for the October 2, 2018 murder. Although the U.S. has imposed travel bans on 21 Saudi officials believed to be involved in the killing and asset freezes on 17 of the banned officials, it excluded MBS from the sanctions and continues to cultivate a close relationship with him.
“The U.S. government should impose travel bans and economic sanctions on Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, not just on the hitmen he sent to murder a dissident critical of his abusive rule,” Whitson said.
The organization also called on the Saudi government to reveal what its agents did with Khashoggi’s remains, which have never been recovered.
“Mohammed bin Salman told the world last year that he took ‘responsibility’ for Khashoggi’s murder ‘because it happened under my watch’. But his refusal to disclose what his agents did with Jamal’s body shows just how insincere and unrepentant he remains,” said Whitson. “Let Jamal’s friends and family at least have the peace of mind of giving this brave man the honorable funeral he deserves, and burying him in Saudi Arabia, his homeland to which he was so attached.”
DAWN has devoted a section of our website to our founder Jamal Khashoggi, which includes a short biography, a description of the UN Special Rapporteur’s recommendations in the wake of his murder, and a description of the international reaction to the murder.
Although many countries and businesses have returned to business as usual with Saudi Arabia, civil society has kept up the pressure on the Saudi regime, seeking justice for Khashoggi’s murderers. DAWN (www.dawnmena.org) has joined a global coalition of 220 civil society organizations calling on countries, businesses, and others to boycott the Saudi-hosted G20 summit scheduled virtually for November 20-21 and all other events surrounding the event, until Saudi Arabia ends its widespread and systematic human rights abuses. On Aug. 20, 2020, the Open Society Justice Initiative sued the U.S. Director of National Intelligence under the Freedom of Information Act seeking release of the same Department of National Intelligence report that Congress has sought to declassify. Most recently, the mayors of New York, Los Angeles, Paris, and London announced that they were withdrawing from the planned G20 events in Riyadh.