Saturday marked the third anniversary of the murder of journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.
Khashoggi, a Saudi Arabian citizen, entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, 2018, to collect documents for his upcoming marriage. He was never seen leaving the consulate. His fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, sounded the alarm when Khashoggi did not return from his appointment. Turkish media later reported that Khashoggi was strangled shortly after he entered the consulate and that his body was dismembered and disposed of.
“We assess that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman approved an operation in Istanbul, Turkey to capture or kill Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi,” according to a US intelligence report released at the beginning of this year. The Saudi government rejected the findings of the intelligence community, saying the murder was perpetrated by a group of rogue Saudi officials.
An event organized by the Freedom First campaign was held on the National Mall in Washington to mark the anniversary of Khashoggi’s killing. Cengiz called on the Biden administration to live up to campaign promises to hold the Crown Prince accountable for the murder.
US President Joe Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan met with the Crown Prince in Saudi Arabia last week, angering Khashoggi activists.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement issued on Saturday that in Khashoggi’s memory “we recommit to advocating for freedom of expression and the protection of journalists, activists, and dissidents everywhere. The United States will always stand by and protect the principle that individuals everywhere should be able to exercise their human rights without fear of punishment or harm.”