▲ Jamal al Khashoggi (59) was murdered in cold blood
Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal al Khashoggi was found brutally murdered at the consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. This issue shocked the world. Who is Jamal al Khashoggi? He is an influential journalist in Saudi Arabia. His family also had close ties to the Saudi royal family. His grandfather was a doctor for the first king of Saudi Arabia, and his uncle worked as an arms dealer.
However, he began to distance from the Saudi royal family by criticizing fundamentalist Islamists and advocating for social reform. Especially in 2011, the Saudi royal family was angry with him because he openly supported a popular revolution, the Arab Spring. Indeed, the Saudi royal family continued to threaten him. He also served as a columnist for the Washington Post while he lived in the United States. He continuously criticized political corruption and problems with the Saudi government.
On October 2, Khashoggi went missing after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, to find documents needed to register his marriage with his Turkish-born fiancée. Building CCTV records only contain his entry, but not what happened inside the building. What happened to him inside the consulate?
Later, the Attorney General's Office in Istanbul announced that Khashoggi was strangled and killed by an assassin who was sent right after he entered the Saudi consulate. They also added that his death was a premeditated assassination and his body was dismembered. Turkey is demanding extradition of 18 suspected Saudi Arabian assassins.
The Saudi government denied any part in it. So, the Turkish government called for quick investigation by the Saudi Arabian government. For a just investigation, the Saudi prosecutor needed to cooperate with Turkish authorities. But the Saudi prosecution has been passive. However, it was later reported that Saudi prosecutor-general Sheikh Almoseb and the prosecutor general of Istanbul would hold informal talks.
On October 23, the King Salman bin Abdullaziz and Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman met with the bereaved family of Jamar al Khashoggi. There is speculation that Prince Bin Salman ordered the killing of Khashoggi or knew about the plan. Indeed, with the revelation of the Saudi government's involvement in this incident, their double appearance is even more suspicious.
People around the world are demanding that the prince step down. In particular, the United States is pressuring Saudi Arabia, openly mentioning diplomatic and economic sanctions against Saudi Arabia. Merkel, the prime minister of the prime minister of Germany, also said she would not export weapons to Saudi Arabia until the case was closed.
On October 30, Michelle Bachelet, the U.N. chief human rights leader, argued that international experts should participate in independent investigations of the killing of Khashoggi. She also urged the Saudi government to disclose the whereabouts of his body.
We can see the control of the press in the Middle East from this incident. Saudi Arabia, in particular, is a country with severe media controls that punishes media outlets if their information is disadvantageous or damaging to those in power. It is common for journalists to be arrested in Saudi Arabia. Even at this moment there is still pressure on journalists in the Middle East. Against this backdrop, the international community is making huge criticisms of the Middle East, where freedom of speech is strictly suppressed. Until the day when freedom of the press comes to the Middle East, Khashoggi’s soul will not be at peace.
By Park-Seon gyoeng, reporter
Park Seon-gyeong, reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
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