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Saudi Arabia: still no justice for state-sanctioned murder of Jamal Khashoggi

Journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in the Saudi consulate building in Istanbul by agents of the Saudi state. His body has never been found © Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Ahead of fifth anniversary (2 Oct) of journalist’s brutal killing in Turkey, the family is still being denied justice

Closed-door trial in 2019 was widely considered to be a whitewash

‘The path to justice for his killing remains fully blocked’ - Agnès Callamard

Ahead of the five-year anniversary (2 October) since the state-sanctioned murder of the Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, said:

“Five years after Jamal Khashoggi’s brutal assassination sent shockwaves around the world, the path to justice for his killing remains fully blocked.

“An independent and impartial criminal investigation into the role played by high-level officials is yet to take place and, instead, the Saudi authorities are continuing their relentless crackdown on freedom of speech with complete impunity. 


“Khashoggi’s enforced disappearance, torture and extrajudicial execution are crimes under international law, which must be urgently investigated and may be prosecuted by any state through universal jurisdiction.

“It is appalling that instead of pushing for justice for his murder the international community continues to roll out the red carpet for Saudi Arabia’s leaders at any opportunity, placing diplomatic and economic interests before human rights.”


Amnesty continues to call for an international, independent and impartial investigation into Khashoggi’s killing to identify all those involved in the crime - however high their rank or status - and ensure that those suspected of responsibility for it are brought to justice in fair trials.

Closed trial in 2019 considered a ‘whitewash’

The Saudi authorities ended investigations into Khashoggi’s killing in 2019 after eight people were convicted in a closed trial which lacked credibility, with the trial proceedings denounced by Amnesty as a “whitewash”. In June 2019, a UN report released by then Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Agnès Callamard, concluded that Khashoggi was the victim of “a premeditated extrajudicial killing for which the state of Saudi Arabia is responsible under human rights law”. Saudi Arabia failed to cooperate with Callamard during her investigation.


Since Khashoggi’s murder, the Saudi authorities, under the leadership of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, have intensified their chilling campaign of repression with unprecedented scope and scale. On 9 July, the authorities sentenced retired teacher Mohammad bin Nasser al-Ghamdi to death after he protested against Government policies on the social media platform X (previously Twitter). For more information on Saudi Arabia’s human rights record, go here and here

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