Final week, Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), the human rights organisation based by late Saudi dissident and Washington Submit columnist Jamal Khashoggi, and his fiancee Hatice Cengiz, filed a joint lawsuit in a Washington District Court docket towards Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) and 28 different prime Saudi officers over the journalist’s 2018 killing in Istanbul.
Whereas the primary architects of the homicide have evaded justice in a sham Saudi trial that pinned all of the blame on eight sacrificial underlings, we intention to make the precise masterminds pay for his or her crime right here in the USA.
The info of Khashoggi’s ugly torture and dismemberment within the Saudi consulate in Istanbul are well-established, due to recording gadgets positioned within the consulate by Turkish intelligence, surveillance movies, telephone intercepts, flight information, forensic work and intelligence gathered by numerous spy businesses, together with our personal CIA. Confronted with incontrovertible proof of the crime, the Saudi authorities finally accepted accountability for the homicide, however they nonetheless haven’t disclosed the place they hid Khashoggi’s stays or acknowledged the involvement of the lead perpetrators – together with MBS and his senior adviser Saud al-Qahtani.
Khashoggi’s surprising homicide took away the person Cengiz was planning to spend the remainder of her life with, a hurt she suffers to at the present time. It additionally constituted a extreme blow for DAWN. We misplaced our founder and govt director, and the community of supporters he had cultivated. Certainly, DAWN remained dormant for greater than a yr following the homicide. On September 29, nearly two years after Khashoggi’s homicide, DAWN formally launched with a mission of upholding his imaginative and prescient: exposing these most accountable for human rights abuses and selling democracy within the Arab world.
As a part of our mission, we at the moment are bringing this motion as a result of we wish each justice for Khashoggi and a responsible verdict for many who murdered him. We consider the US represents the most effective discussion board by which we will maintain his killers accountable. And we consider that the US has a particular curiosity in looking for justice for Khashoggi, who, as a political dissident, had discovered refuge within the nation and had sturdy ties to it. In addition to having three US citizen sons, Khashoggi based our American human rights organisation and ran it from an workplace in Washington till his homicide.
Within the rapid aftermath of the homicide that dominated worldwide headlines for months, MBS was remoted and weakened, a sufferer, it appeared, of his personal worst and violent instincts. Many governments all over the world condemned the killing, demanded accountability, and imposed journey bans and worldwide sanctions on the killers. The US Congress handed not one however two payments to ban arms gross sales to Saudi Arabia, killed by President Donald Trump’s vetoes. Worldwide companies cancelled profitable enterprise offers.
Two years on, Saudi Arabia and MBS are nonetheless attempting to climate the storm of the harm to their status attributable to this homicide, on prime of the catastrophic struggle in Yemen and relentless persecution of reform activists within the nation. Whereas Saudi Arabia stays safe because the primary oil exporter and arms purchaser on the earth, the stench of its crimes has remained an awesome public relations burden.
Mayors of outstanding cities, together with Los Angeles, New York, and Paris, have withdrawn from the digital Group of 20 summit that can be hosted by Saudi Arabia in November, and dozens of European legislators have issued a decision urging the European Union to downgrade its participation within the occasion. Simply final week, Saudi Arabia failed in its try and turn into a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). Apparently, Saudi Arabia’s standing is even worse than Russia and China’s, because the latter two managed to safe seats on the council.
DAWN will not be alone in looking for accountability for Khashoggi’s homicide. For the reason that journalist’s ugly killing, human rights organisations and civil rights teams from all over the world have been waging a sustained marketing campaign involving press conferences, commemorations, panel discussions, vigils and freedom of data act litigations to carry these accountable for his dying to justice. Just lately, lots of of non-governmental organisations declared a boycott of the G20 civil society conferences within the lead as much as the summit. Most not too long ago, a bipartisan group of Republicans and Democrats have handed laws to stress the Trump administration to declassify an intelligence report figuring out these accountable for the homicide.
With this lawsuit, we open one other entrance within the wrestle to carry Khashoggi’s killers accountable. We wish to clarify to MBS that we and others will path him all over the world to make impunity unattainable for his grotesque and barbarous acts. However the stakes concerned within the case are a lot bigger than one man and one nation. With autocracies on the rise the world over, Saudi Arabia, beneath the grip of MBS, will not be the one oppressive regime that has sought to crush political dissent at residence, whereas partaking in extrajudicial killings of political dissidents overseas.
A US lawsuit by itself might not deter MBS from concentrating on political dissidents overseas. However a profitable swimsuit with a punitive verdict will present a measure of justice for Khashoggi, fracture the veneer of impunity for his killers, and completely affix the cost of assassin to the crown prince and his “Tiger Squad” of thugs. A profitable court docket verdict may even ship a transparent and unequivocal message that the best authority we recognise is the regulation of countries, which doesn’t bow to princely assassins.
The views expressed on this article are the authors’ personal and don’t essentially replicate Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.