Jamal Khashoggi Murdered, What Now?
Monday 10th December 2018 | Jake
Human rights and the freedom of the press have come under intense scrutiny in the past couple months, after the murder of Saudi journalist, and critic of the kingdom’s ruling family, Jamal Khashoggi. The Washington Post correspondent was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in early October.
The murder raises serious questions over Britain’s close ties to the Saudi regime, while also highlighting the growing threat to the free press and its writers across the globe. From Trump’s “fake news” bashing, to Putin and Erdogan’s resentment of dissidence, the press is being demonised almost universally. Now a journalist has paid for doing his job with his life.
Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, had been touted as a reformer, a moderniser, by political commentators. And this looked to be the case, with a string of reforms designed to bring a deeply conservative nation up to speed with other countries.
But beneath this veneer of 21st century sensibilities lay a regime opposed to change, only interested in using soft power to legitimise its harsh policies at home and abroad, specifically the campaign of misery and suffering it has inflicted on Yemen.
Crown Prince bin Salman and Trump
Khashoggi was a critic of the establishment, and was murdered by a death squad many believe was sent by the Crown Prince. His body has not been found, with the last known picture of him taken on a CCTV camera as he walked into the Saudi consulate. He didn’t come out, with Turkish officials suggesting the body may have been dissolved in acid.
What is clear is that Khashoggi’s blood is on the royal family’s hands. May intends to press Bin Salman on his role in the murder, but foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt has already ruled out sanctions against Saudi Arabia. Hunt and May will press ahead with an aggressive arms sale policy to the kingdom, fearful of leaving the EU without trade agreements in place to soften the economic blow. Meanwhile Prince Salman and Putin high-five at the G20 summit to send chills down newsroom spines.