The US State Department published a statement on the official website on the third anniversary of the assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed and dismembered inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, stressing that his death was one of the most heinous incidents, and called on everyone to honor his memory, stressing the necessity of protecting other journalists and human rights defenders.
“On the third anniversary of the heinous murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, we honor his extraordinary life and legacy. In his memory, we renew our commitment to defending freedom of expression and protecting journalists, activists, and dissidents everywhere. The United States will always stand up to protect the principle that individuals everywhere should be able to exercise their human rights without fear of punishment or harm.”
In its statement, the ministry pointed to the declassified intelligence report published at the beginning of the Biden era, saying that since the report was published, “we have taken steps to prevent the recurrence of such a reprehensible crime. We have launched a coordinated effort to prevent and respond to any government targeting journalists, activists, and dissidents outside its borders, and we have gathered diplomatic tools law enforcement and intelligence to deter repressive governments and better protect individuals and target groups, including within the United States… We have also developed a global visa restriction policy named Khashoggi, under which the United States can restrict and revoke the visas of people involved in extraterritorial operations targeting journalists. or activists or dissidents anywhere in the world.The State Department has already taken action under the Khashoggi ban to impose visa restrictions on 76 Saudis believed to have participated in threatening opponents abroad, including but not limited to the Khashoggi murder. Finally, we are working on Increase our public reporting on the threat posed by transnational repression, and will include specific cases and broader findings as part of our new annual report on human rights.”
“President Biden has made clear that the United States places human rights at the center of our foreign policy, and has assured our diplomats that defending human rights is entirely in America’s national interests and enhances our national security. To raise the level of respect for human rights around the world, the United States will stand with the brave journalists, human rights defenders and other advocates who often risk their lives to advance the rights of others, the United States will use every appropriate tool to ensure that it can do its important work in safety and security no matter where they are.”
In turn, we stress that this statement is far from the truth, and it is very contrary to reality. The United States has not taken effective measures to protect journalists and dissidents who are being prosecuted abroad.
US President Joe Biden and his administration have refused to impose any direct sanctions on Mohammed bin Salman, despite the intelligence report revealing his involvement in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, and assigning him to the Saudi killing squad to go to Turkey to assassinate or kidnap the journalist.
Not only did the administration refuse to impose any sanctions on the Saudi crown prince, but the relations between the two administrations were deepened and he was not ostracized or marginalized as Biden claimed in his election campaign. In addition, Biden resumed arms deals to Saudi Arabia despite his knowledge that these arms were used in the Yemen war, which caused the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, as described by the United Nations, which confirmed with all other reports, that the Saudi military intervention has exacerbated the situation there.
The United States did not intervene to rescue the Australian citizen of Saudi origin, Osama Al-Hasani, who was arrested in Morocco and handed over to the Saudi authorities in March of this year. After several months of arbitrary detention and a secret trial, he was sentenced to four years in prison after being brought before the Specialized Criminal Court.
The issuance of the ruling by this court confirms that the accusations against Al-Hasani are political and not criminal, as the Moroccan authorities claimed in their justification for handing over Al-Hasani to the Saudi’s authorities. This would be a new failure of the United States to protect citizens from the Saudi repressive authorities.
Saad Al-Jabri, Omar Ibn Abdul-Aziz and many other Saudi dissidents residing abroad, are still facing threats everywhere, some of them are even afraid to share the address of their residence with those close to him for fear of being tracked, fearing the revenge of the Saudi authorities who would want to harm them for voicing their dissident opinions.
Saudi prisons are the best evidence of the United States’ deliberate failure to protect and rescue human rights defenders.
The preacher Salman Al-Awda, who has been held in solitary confinement for more than four years and has lost half of his hearing and vision, the women detainees, Raif Badawi and his brother-in-law, Mohamed Al-Qahtani, and many others… Where is the United States’ stance towards all these violations detainees suffer in Saudi prison? Where are its actions while it sees the Saudi authorities deprive them of their most basic rights to obtain appropriate medical care and to communicate with their families?
How can the United States claim to honor Khashoggi and his memory when it did not do even the slightest bit to honor Khashoggi’s body, which is still missing, in a clear deprivation of his family from knowing the location of his grave to visit him!
Three years have passed since the brutal assassination, during which nothing has changed except the repression of the Saudi regime, which has become increasingly brutal without any deterrent from the international community, which provides it with immunity and support, and legitimizes all its violations by continuing to cooperate with it at all levels.
We call on the international community to abandon its silence and take courageous moral stances in accordance with their obligations under the various covenants and charters that affirm the right of every person to express their opinions freely and without restrictions as long as he adheres to peacefulness.
We call on the governments of the world to put real conditions to guarantee the improvement of human rights in Saudi Arabia before cooperating with it, as the Saudi regime continues to be more repressive each day, due to the international silence.