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July 10, 2019

How Congress Can Find Justice for Jamal Khashoggi and Protect Others Like Him

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Accountability for Khashoggi’s Murder is a Must

On October 2, 2018, a team of Saudi government agents murdered Washington Post columnist and Virginia resident Jamal Khashoggi after luring him to Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. Khashoggi’s premeditated killing and subsequent dismemberment occurred in direct response to his criticism of Saudi Arabia’s human rights record.

In December, following briefings on the murder from Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Gina Haspel, the Senate voted unanimously to condemn the killing and name Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) as ultimately responsible. More recently, UN expert Agnes Callamard released her exhaustive report on the killing, which similarly found MBS culpable.

Despite these findings, the Trump Administration has yet to hold MBS and other high-ranking Saudi officials accountable for the killing. In fact, President Trump has gone out of his way to obscure MBS’s role in the murder, stating recently that “nobody has directly pointed a finger” at MBS, despite the conclusions found in the UN report and the findings of both the CIA and the National Security Agency (NSA).

Khashoggi’s killers must be held accountable for the gruesome crime. Failing to do so would potentially signal a green light to autocrats around the world that they can murder dissidents and journalists without repercussion, even if those dissidents seek shelter in the United States.

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