DAWN PRESS RELEASE
Designation of City Street an Important Memorial to Slain Washington DC Resident
Washington, DC — Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), the organization founded by Jamal Khashoggi before his brutal murder, urged the D.C. Council to pass the Jamal Khashoggi Way Designation Act of 2021 which will be introduced by Councilmember Brooke Pinto today. The resolution would rename the street in front of the Saudi Arabian Embassy as "Jamal Khashoggi Way."
"Renaming the street in front of the Saudi Embassy in Washington, DC not only honors Jamal Khashoggi's legacy as a brave journalist who paid the ultimate price for his commitment to free expression but will also daily remind Saudi government officials that their heinous crimes will not be forgotten," said Sarah Leah Whitson, DAWN's executive director. "The Saudi government's assault in murdering a Washington D.C. resident was an assault on all of the people of this great city, founded on the principles of freedom and democracy."
Jamal Khashoggi's killing sparked worldwide outrage, including in Washington D.C., where Khashoggi worked as a columnist for the Washington Post and as Executive Director for 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. The effort did not succeed at the time because local law prohibits naming any public space after a person unless they are deceased for at least two years.
Councilmember Pinto issued a statement supporting the resolution, reading in part:
Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and resident of the Washington metropolitan area, was murdered by agents of the Government of Saudi Arabia in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, on October 2, 2018. His brutal murder sparked worldwide outrage, including here in the United States. The Central Intelligence Agency has concluded with high confidence that his murder was the result of a pre-planned and deliberate action, which was authorized and directed by Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.
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 "the street should be renamed in his honor."
"The D.C. Council will take an important step in fulfilling its own responsibilities to take action in the face of Saudi Arabia's egregious abuse of torturing and extrajudicially assassinating a journalist merely because they didn't like to hear his criticism," said Raed McCracken Jarrar, DAWN's Advocacy Director. "Chairman Mendelson should schedule a public hearing and bring the resolution up for a vote as soon as possible."
DAWN encourages DC residents to contact Chairman Mendelson and ask that he brings the resolution up for a vote by calling his office at (202) 724-8196 or sending an email to COW@dccouncil.us.
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