"Alleged assassination of Jamal Khashoggi is Consulate would set abysmal new low," said Amnesty International Middle East Research Director Lynn is a statement about the alleged murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Amnesty International Middle East Research Director Lynn Maalouf made a statement about the allegations that Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

"Reports that a team flew in from Saudi Arabia expressly to carry out a ‘planned murder’ in the Consulate are cause for extreme alarm after Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance since entering the building on 2 October."

"If true, this would be an abysmal new low. Such an assassination within the grounds of the Consulate, which is territory under Saudi Arabian jurisdiction, would amount to an extrajudicial execution. This case sends a shockwave among Saudi Arabian human rights defenders and dissidents everywhere, eroding any notion of seeking safe haven abroad," she said.

"The Gulf Kingdom routinely uses draconian laws to crack down on peaceful dissent at home and has even arrested dissidents abroad in the past. But the enforced disappearance – and now reported assassination – of one of its citizens who had sought asylum abroad should set alarm bells ringing. It suggests the Saudi Arabian authorities are willing to dispense even with their own deeply flawed judicial proceedings in order to punish those who peacefully criticize them."

"The international community’s deafening silence on Saudi Arabia’s crackdown on freedom of expression must end and it must demand an immediate explanation from Saudi Arabia’s authorities about Jamal Khashoggi’s fate or whereabouts. If the reports are true, they must immediately launch an independent investigation and those responsible, however high their rank or status, must face justice."

Calling on the Turkish authorities Lynn Maalouf said Turkiye must urgently disclose the full findings of their investigation, to bring clarity to Jamal Khashoggi’s family and aid the pursuit of justice.

What happened?

Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi had disappeared since the date of his arrival at the Consulate General of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul. 

Lynne Maalouf, in the first statement on the subject: "The Saudi authorities must immediately disclose the evidence supporting their claim that Jamal Khashoggi left the consulate last Tuesday, otherwise their claims are utterly baseless and only exacerbate suspicions that they are indeed detaining him in what would amount to an enforced disappearance. If that is indeed the case, they must immediately release him, and the Turkish authorities must ensure he is not forcibly returned to Saudi Arabia."

Khashoggi went into self-exile in September 2017, amidst an ongoing wave of arrests of human rights defenders, clerics, economists, bloggers – and practically any person daring to criticize the authorities. If returned to Saudi Arabia, Jamal Khashoggi would be in serious danger given the pattern of flagrantly unfair trials that have been leading to long prison sentences and even the death penalty.
This would not be the first time that a dissident is targeted outside of Saudi Arabia. In May 2017, human rights defender Mohammed al-Otaibi was arrested in Doha airport while en route to Norway, where he had been granted refugee status and sent to Saudi Arabia by the Qatari authorities. This past January, he was sentenced by the Specialized Criminal Court (SCC) in Riyadh to 14 years of prison following an utterly unfair trial.

"This sends a petrifying signal to peaceful dissidents and critics that they are at risk even outside the country, and that the authorities are targeting them one by one wherever they can do so," Lynn Maalouf said. (ILKHA)

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