Five Years On: Khashoggi Murder Remains Unresolved Amid Calls for Justice
As the fifth anniversary of the tragic death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which occurred within the Saudi consulate in Istanbul under state sanction, approaches, Skyline emphasizes that despite the passage of five years since the shocking and brutal assassination of Jamal Khashoggi, the journey towards establishing accountability for his murder remains impeded. Instead, Saudi authorities continue their rigorous suppression of free speech without encountering any repercussions.
Skyline International Foundation says in a statement issued today, Friday, that five years after Saudi Arabian killed columnist Jamal Khashoggi, the case has not been resolved, neither for Khashoggi's family and friends nor for all those in the Arab world who might have benefited from his ideas for more transparent and democratic governance. Finding the facts and holding Saudi officials and everyone else responsible are necessary for bringing the situation to a close.
Skyline asserts that that the enforced disappearance, torture, and extrajudicial execution suffered by Jamal Khashoggi are clear violations of international law. These actions are considered serious crimes that breach fundamental principles of human rights and international legal norms.
Regarding the incident, on October 2, 2018, Khashoggi, a 59-year-old U.S. permanent resident, was lured to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul where he was promised papers he needed to marry his Turkish fiancée, Hatice Cengiz. He entered the consulate and never left; inside, a Saudi team strangled him and dismembered his body with a bone saw. The 15-man death squad included seven agents from the crown prince's elite personal security service and others from the Saudi Center for Studies and Media Affairs, headed by Saud Al-Qahtani, a close adviser to the crown prince.
When they had done their brutal killing, they slipped away from Turkey. To this day, the Saudis have not commented on what they did with the body, depriving Khashoggi's family, friends, and supporters of the opportunity to bury him with dignity.
Saudi authorities closed the file on the Jamal Khashoggi case in 2019 after eight people were convicted in a closed trial that lacked credibility and transparency. A United Nations report released in June 2019 by the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions, Agnès Callamard, concluded that Jamal Khashoggi was the victim of “an "extrajudicial killing carried out with premeditation and intent, for which the Saudi State bears responsibility.”
Since Khashoggi's murder, the authorities in Saudi Arabia, led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, have intensified their horrific campaign of repression on an unprecedented scale. On July 9, authorities sentenced a retired teacher to death after he protested government policies on the social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter).
Skyline International Foundation asserts that these crimes are subject to prosecution by any state under the principle of universal jurisdiction. Universal jurisdiction allows states to prosecute individuals for serious international crimes, such as war crimes, crimes against humanity, and torture, regardless of where the crimes were committed or the nationality of the perpetrator or victim.
In essence, Skyline International Foundation for Human Rights advocates for a rigorous legal response to the Khashoggi case, calling for investigations, prosecutions, and accountability under international law. It also highlights the need for a stronger commitment to human rights from the international community, even in the face of diplomatic and economic considerations.