Earlier this week, the Washington, D.C. House of Representatives unanimously approved a bill that would designate a section of the street directly in front of the Saudi Embassy in Washington as “Jamal Khashoggi Avenue.”
Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of DAWN, which Khashoggi founded before his murder, commented on the decision, saying it would serve as a “daily reminder to the Saudi embassy and the Saudi government that Jamal Khashoggi and his legacy have the same impact in death as in life.” The move also supported the National Press Club, which said that changing the street’s name would serve as a reminder “that we want justice for Jamal.”
Together for Justice welcomes this step, which constantly memorialises Khashoggi, but is that all? Has this official decision achieved justice for Khashoggi? We are still waiting for the US administration to take a decisive official decision that will hold all Khashoggi’s killers, without any exception, accountable, and to apply the law that they always try to bypass for their personal interests.
So far, Khashoggi’s killers remain free, while his dismembered corpse remains kept in an unknown location, not even allowing his family to bid him farewell.
Joe Biden has refused to apply any sanctions to the Saudi crown prince for diplomatic reasons, and the rest of the killers whose identities have been known have been denied entry to the United States, a punishment that is not commensurate with taking a human life and depriving his family of their simple right to know the location of his body or to seek redress from his killers.
We do not underestimate any efforts that contribute to keeping Khashoggi’s memory alive, but as long as the perpetrators are at large with clear influence and endless powers to do what they want, what is the value of any “formal” measure that memorializes only? what particular memory is immortalized in these circumstances? Do officials around the world celebrate the killing of Khashoggi? If they are really sincere in the struggle for justice for him, why is cooperation still going on with the regime that planned, masterminded and killed him?
How can journalists in the world now be safe as long as the price will be very cheap; You are killed while defending your ideas, we will not hold the killers accountable, we will not boycott them, we will not impose any sanctions on them, but we will definitely name the nearest street in which they live with their names.
We call on human rights groups around the world, human rights defenders, activists and opinion holders, to unite to pressure their governments to take a decisive stance on the Saudi regime so that justice for Jamal Khashoggi is ensured and his killers held accountable, so that the crime is not repeated again and or all opponents and opinion leaders will lose their lives.