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US lawmakers, friends mark 100 days since Khashoggi murder

January 12, 2019

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WASHINGTON: An image of slain reporter Jamal Khashoggi on display as US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks at an event on Thursday.—AP
WASHINGTON: An image of slain reporter Jamal Khashoggi on display as US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks at an event on Thursday.—AP

US LAWMAKERS from both parties, friends of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi and press freedom groups on Thursday 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.

Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributor who lived in the US, was killed in October at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, where he had gone to pick up paperwork needed for his upcoming marriage to his Turkish fiancée. Over three months later, his body’s whereabouts remain unknown. Turkish and US officials accuse Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of orchestrating the killing — an allegation Saudi authorities categorically refute. 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.”

Published in Dawn, January 12th, 2019