We have followed with deep concern the assassination of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi (RIP), the Saudis’ denials of the crime and clear, premeditated attempts to accuse others of committing it, and then successive Saudi admissions following Turkish leaks, until they admitted committing the crime and chopping up the body, then the charade of a trial that ended with the acquittal of Saud al-Qahtani and Ahmad Assiri, whom the government had previously accused of direct involvement in the crime. Having actively monitored and engaged with these developments, we wish to state the following:
We utterly reject the Saudi trial in the Khashoggi case, and the sentences arising from it, since it was not a fair trial and the Saudi judiciary is corrupt and lacking independence. The prime suspect in the case is the Saudi crown prince, who is the person who controls the course of court proceedings.
We maintain that the outcome of this trial is nothing but an attempt to throw sand in people’s eyes, and a continuation of Saudi politics as usual, without the authorities wanting to stop committing their crimes and violations; indeed, they are seeking to cover them up and carry on committing more of them. None of the promises they have made to cease their violations and turn over a new leaf is serious. They have not taken any genuine steps to deal with any of the issues. Torture has continued, as have executions and arbitrary arrests. They have not released prisoners of conscience, and the war on Yemen is still going on. All of these things, together with yesterday’s verdicts in the Khashoggi trial, demonstrate the authorities’ will and determination to carry on with their violations and break all their promises and pledges to solve these problems.
We also reject the Saudi authorities’ exploitation of members of Jamal Khashoggi’s family to whitewash the image of the judiciary and minimise the issue, bearing in mind that his family, or at any rate some members of it, are not totally free to act. Secondly, and more importantly, the case is not a matter for Jamal Khashoggi’s family only, but concerns public opinion. Khashoggi was not killed in some family dispute; he was a political journalist who talked about public opinion and criticised the political system, and he was killed by the regime. The entire case is political, and not just a criminal case.
We call once again for an international trial in which the accused appears before a fair, impartial, international court attended by the media and human rights organisations; in which the defendants are assured of being able to speak without fear, especially about who gave them the orders to commit the crime. We likewise call on the Turkish and American authorities to reveal the evidence and recordings that they have.
We also call on the world to press for justice to be done, to reject this Saudi play-acting and not to help the regime or to stand alongside and collude with it, particularly in its constant attempts to burnish its image, normalise its crimes and distract the world and its own people with minor issues that are unrelated to rights and freedoms.
We urge people not to treat the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in isolation from all the other crimes and violations of the regime, so that it cannot escape punishment and keeping committing more crimes with impunity, time after time. Let the Saudi public and the whole world see the true face of the regime. The man who carried out waves of arrests across the country is the same man who made war on Yemen, turning it into the world’s worst humanitarian disaster. This is also the man who executes his opponents and bombs cities, and who routinely implements the most abhorrent forms of torture and sexual harassment. This is the man who had the nerve to kidnap and detain another country’s prime minister and force his resignation. This is the man who manufactures crises in the region and the world, along with all his other abuses, crimes and crises that harm our society, the region and the world.
Finally, we affirm that will continue to stand up to tyranny and abuse, and to expose the regime’s injustice and criminal actions, whatever the dangers, and however much it costs us, in order to save our country, our nation, and future generations from the wretchedness of this regime.
- Yahya Assiri – Director, ALQST for Human Rights.
- Ali Al-Dubaisi – Director, European Saudi Organization for Human Rights.
- Sultan al-Abdali – Lawyer; Director, Aljazeera Centre for Liberties.
- Anmar bin Mohammad Almassari – Engineer; political activist.
- Adel Salem al-Juhani – Engineer; human rights activist.
- Dr. Mohammad bin Abdullah Al-Massari – General secretary, spokesman, Party for Islamic Renewal.
- Ali Al Ahmed – Director, Gulf Institute.
- Abdullah Meden al-Ghamdi – Political activist.
- Dr. Hussah Almadhi – member, ALQST for Human Rights.
- Khaled bin Farhan Al Saud – Director, The Freedom Movement of Arabian Peninsula People
- Dr. Fouad Ibrahim – Leadership committee member, Khalas Movement.
- Ameen al-Nemer – Political researcher.
- Abdullah Aljuraywi – Human rights activist.
- Abdulaziz Almoayyad – Human rights activist.
- Hana Al-Khamri – Freelance researcher and writer.
- Safa Al Ahmad – Freelance journalist.
- Rasha Wahbi – Human Rights activist.
- Taha al Hajji – Lawyer; human rights defender.
- Amin Ali – Human rights activist, YouTuber.
- Regina Nasr – Human rights activist; founder, Sawa for Human Rights.
- Dr Madawi al-Rasheed – Academic and professor.
- Dr Hamza Al-Hassan – Leadership committee, Khalas Movement.
- Omaima Al Najjar – Human rights activist.
- Abdulrazzaq al-Rayyes – human rights activist.
- Saeed al-Zahrani – Human rights activist.
- Maan al-Shareef (Mosho) – Human rights activist.
- Ahmad Hakmi – human rights activist; member, Diaspora Party.
- ((Haroon Ahmad)) – political activist, former employee at Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
- ((Abdullah al-Harbi.))
- ((Moath al-Farsi.))
- ((Sami Khalid.))
- ((Khalid Al-Dubaisi.))
- Nasser Alajmi – political activist.
- Omar Abdulaziz – Saudi politician.
- Mohammad Al Mqtoof – activist.
- ((Ahmad al-Khaldi)) – blogger.
- ((Badr Abdullah)) – Engineer.
- ((Bandar al-Enizi)) – Human rights defender.
- Shoaa al-Zahrani – political activist.
- ((Saleh Abd Rabboh)) – Engineer.
- ((Nasser Mohammad)) – political and humanitarian activist.
- ((Essam al-Wesydi)).
- ((Fajr al-Qassab)) – human rights activist.
- ((Abdullah al-Tamimi)).