JUSTICE FOR KHASHOGGI
JUSTICE FOR KHASHOGGI
This is a call for countries around the world to bring international sanctions and civil penalties against the Saudi Arabian government to create a permanent endowment for Journalism in Khashoggi’s name.
To ensure that Khashoggi’s assassination is not swept under the rug, historically speaking, we are asking human rights activists the world over to demand a call for justice, to ensure his life, his work and his words empower journalists to continue to speak truth to power.
Please read the Call for Justice.
Sign the petition to stand in solidarity and empower this lasting legacy. Forward your signed petition to lawmakers around the world.
Write to your political leaders and demand justice for Khashoggi.
Don’t let the world forget.
Photo Credit; RNZ e paper
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To those empowered to sanction and compel Saudi Arabia to atone for its abuse of power in its complicity in the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi, journalist and father, we call on you to support and pass laws that sanction Saudi Arabia with the aim of creating a permanent endowment that advances journalism dedicated to human rights.
Whereas Jamal Khashoggi was deprived of his human right to live and write freely as a journalist and dissident in the eyes of Saudi Arabia;
Whereas Khashoggi was targeted in a pre-meditated murder because the Saudi monarchy perceived him to be a threat;
Whereas the Saudi government acknowledges that Khashoggi was murdered by government agents;
Whereas the Khashoggi assassination reveals a total disregard by the Saudi government for basic standards of human decency, respect for other nation’s sovereignty, and the right of journalists to be secure in their profession;
Whereas a nation-state that cannot conform to basic standards of human decency and maintain a semblance of respect of human rights, should be denied free agency to conduct business in international markets, and its citizens denied freedom to travel until respect for human rights is practiced;
We the undersigned call for sanctions and civil penalties that match the atrociousness of Khashoggi’s assassination;
In addition to sanctions that can be applied to individual actors under the USA Magnitsky Act; and other sanctions targeting business, we call for a minimum of a $1 Billion Dollar civil penalty to be paid by the Saudi government to a new non-profit organization to be established. This entity would receive the penalty and dispense the funds in accordance with its mission to advance journalism that defends global human rights and speaks truth to power.
We call on the United States Congress, the European Commission and all European nations committed to the rule of law and rights of free expression, to stand in solidarity by issuing a demand for severe sanctions and a civil penalty that funds a new international not for profit organization dedicated to the advancement of free, fair, transparent and unhindered journalism.
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THE CALL FOR JUSTICE
The world is following the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi with rapt attention because it is such an over-reach by a nation/state. The egregiousness of this crime demands a just punishment that will limit the likelihood of this happening again by other state actors.
For there to be real justice in the case of Jamal Khashoggi, the penalty the Saudis pay must transcend time, place, and person and positively advance the cause of journalism and rights of free speech for generations to come, not just achieve criminal convictions, visa restrictions and economic sanctions.
A One Billion Dollar settlement - from sanctions and civil penalties - should be sought from the Saudi government as a tribute to Khashoggi to finance an endowment that sustains and defends the rights of journalists to investigate and report on human rights all around the world; and that additional funds pay for tribute monuments to assassinated journalists and these be installed in relevant world capitals, to remind the public of the important work journalists provide. The Saudis’ owe this to the world.
What difference could a One Billion Dollar endowment, managed by a not-for-profit advocacy organization, make in the life and well being of a journalist? A huge difference if the endowment became a new, muscular international institution that dispensed money dedicated to enabling and protecting the efforts of journalists reporting on human rights.
Such an endowment could provide grants to finance investigations and reporting; journalists could petition to receive funds to finance protection from trolls paid by rogue nations seeks; even families of assassinated could petition the fund to finance legal cases against the perpetrators, be they criminal gangs, and/or state actors. It could finance legal defense to journalists arrested in countries opposed to a free press.
Finally, an endowment of the sort I am envisioning could finance monuments that memorialize those who have given their lives to the cause of journalism, and speaking truth to power.
Certainly such a fund could be petitioned to finance policy development in countries that lack human rights protections. Logically this endowment should have local offices in every country and be responsive to the grass-roots journalism.
Now that the Saudi government has admitted to killing the journalist, we need to ask what will the consequences be? We must begin an influence campaign of prominent international entities to compel the Saudi regime to pay civil penalties for this horrendous over reach of power.
Those of us made indignant by this murder need to find a common voice in our demand for justice. Khashoggi’s assassination needs to become more than the simple murder of a dissident. His murder was an attack on journalism by a state actor intent on suppressing a journalistic voice endeavoring to advance human rights around freedom of expression, association, and the right to live without fear of being killed.
Calls for justice have been made and some steps taken, but for Saudi Arabia to be held to account it will be necessary for a massive international demand to be made.
The United States is the logical power for forcing justice, but unless the Senate takes the lead, it is very likely the Americans will relinquish their role, and not compel the Saudis to accept punishment.
Other lever points for justice could come from the Turks as they are doing around revealing facts, but they lack the heft to penalize like U.S. sanctions could, which need to be imposed.
The European Union may be the best vehicle for compelling a just resolution given that it values human rights and therefore has an interest in asserting its sovereignty, and right to critique, over of an authoritarian dictator. Perhaps a United Nations entity could provide leadership for a just solution to Khashoggi’s murder.
While some may be satisfied that justice is served by imposing economic sanctions under the Magnitsky Act against MBS and other bad actors, for example; however, these penalties do not really do justice to the harm done to journalism, the work Khashoggi had dedicated his life to.
With this murder fresh in the “imagination’ of the world community, and especially the journalism body of researchers, writers and publishers, we have an opportunity to create a new independent, international institution that is dedicated to journalism, human rights, and which would support the right of the dissident to criticize with some confidence that he or she is not standing alone.
For this to happen, the Saudi government needs to pay its penance, and finance a new institution, but only world pressure can compel this.
See published version at
Global Investigative Journalism Network
Photo credit: Reuters 2018