Activists, journalists, lawmakers demand justice 100 days after Khashoggi murder
ISTANBUL / WASHINGTON
Human rights activists, journalists and lawmakers have called for an international investigation into the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, in ceremonies marking the 100th day since his killing sparked global outrage.
"We once again call for an international investigation under the authority of the United Nations into the murder of Jamal Khashoggi," Göksu Özahıshalı, one of the Turkey representatives of Amnesty International, said on Jan. 10 in a statement read out in front of the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, the scene of the murder.
In a case that shocked the world Khashoggi, a US resident and Riyadh critic who wrote for the Washington Post, was murdered and his corpse dismembered inside the kingdom’s diplomatic compound on Oct. 2.
"We demand justice for Jamal Khashoggi who fought for the freedom of expression in the Arab world," Özahıshalı said.
Amnesty activists later symbolically hung a street sign reading "Jamal Khashoggi Street" where the Saudi consulate is located in Istanbul's Beşiktaş district.
Several questions remain unanswered including the whereabouts of Khashoggi’s remains more than three months after the murder.
"It’s absolutely shocking that 100 days later there are no real concrete steps to bring this murder to justice," Andrew Gardner, Amnesty’s Turkey strategy and research manager, told AFP.
"Unfortunately the international community has been incredibly weak, and trade and diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia have taken precedence over fundamental human values," he said.
After evidence emerged that the killing was done by a team of Saudis sent from Riyadh and closely linked to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the international community demanded a transparent investigation.
Turkey and Saudi Arabia have opened separate investigations into the murder but Ankara has repeatedly accused Riyadh of failure to cooperate.
Turkish officials have blamed the crown prince for the killing, which the Saudi authorities categorically deny.
A trial opened last week in Saudi Arabia. The prosecutor has demanded the death penalty against five of the accused whose identities have not been revealed.
Earlier on Jan. 10, US lawmakers from both parties, friends of Khashoggi and press freedom groups in Washington marked 100 days since the Saudi dissident’s assassination.
Featuring a portrait of Khashoggi against a back drop of American flags, the ceremony began with a moment of silence.
"The murder of Khashoggi is an atrocity and an affront to humanity," said Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi during the event in Washington.
In Washington, US President Donald Trump’s response to Riyadh -- a key trade partner -- provoked outrage among lawmakers across the political spectrum.
"If we decide that commercial interest should override the statements that we make and the actions that we take, then we must admit that we have lost all moral authority to talk about any atrocities anywhere, any time," Pelosi added.
The newspaper’s CEO Fred Ryan said Khashoggi’s death had "touched his Washington Post colleagues deeply."
"Yet this story is not just about the murder of one innocent journalist," he added.
"Jamal’s killing is part of an escalating attack against press freedom that is being waged by tyrants around the world."
Meanwhile Margaux Ewen, North America director for Reporters without Borders, warned that "journalists, bloggers, and media workers are under threat" every day.
"Together, let’s make sure the sacrifices of those like Jamal who have paid the ultimate price have not been in vain," she said.