Statement on the Second Anniversary of the Murder of Jamal Khashoggi

NEW YORK — In observance of the second anniversary of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi by the government of Saudi Arabia, Human Rights First’s Senior Vice President for Policy Rob Berschinski issued the following statement:

“On October 2, 2018, Saudi Arabian officials, at the likely direction of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, lured Washington Post journalist and Virginia resident Jamal Khashoggi into a Turkish consulate to be suffocated and dismembered.

“Khashoggi’s premeditated murder at the hands of a Saudi Arabian ‘kill team’ shocked the conscience of many around the world, including American lawmakers from both sides of the political aisle. Yet in the two years since Khashoggi’s murder, Saudi authorities have taken no meaningful steps toward accountability. After repeatedly lying about the circumstances of Khashoggi’s death, the Saudi government carried out a sham trial meant not to deliver justice, but to obscure the truth.

“Today, those that directed Jamal Khashoggi’s murder walk free. And for his part, President Trump has defended Mohammed bin Salman at every turn. According to Bob Woodward, Trump has bragged about how he ‘saved [the] ass’ of the Saudi crown prince. As is his wont, the president of the United States prefers to trust the word of a foreign dictator over the conclusions of the U.S. intelligence community and prioritizes the sale of weapons over the value of human life.

“The U.S. Congress has passed law, on a bipartisan basis, intended to compel President Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and other administration officials to stop covering for Mohammed bin Salman. Such law has been ignored. The Trump administration’s message to the Saudi crown prince – that he can murder innocents with abandon, whether Khashoggi or school children in Yemen – has been heard loud and clear in Riyadh. Today, the Saudi government remains emboldened. The crown prince continues to carry out a campaign of intimidation against critics abroad, to jail and torture activists and journalists at home, and to engage in a consistent pattern of war crimes in Yemen.

“As the old saying goes, ‘the wheels of justice turn slowly, but grind exceedingly fine.’ For now, Jamal Khashoggi’s killers have escaped the justice that they deserve. We owe it to his memory and the many brave activists fighting for universal rights in Saudi Arabia to see that one day justice is served.”


Published on October 1, 2020


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