President Donald Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20500
Re: Amnesty International USA urges the White House to call for a UN Investigation into the killing of Jamal Khashoggi
Dear President Trump:
I am writing on behalf of Amnesty International USA to urge you to immediately call for a timely, credible, and transparent UN investigation into the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. A UN-mandated investigation would facilitate investigators’ travel to relevant locations and their access to potential witnesses or suspects. Khashoggi’s family and the world deserve the full truth about what happened to him, and those responsible, however high their rank or status, must be held to account.
Mr. Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul after he arrived to obtain documentation for his upcoming wedding. His killing falls squarely within a long-standing pattern of repression and a crackdown on dissent which has further escalated since Mohammad bin Salman became Crown Prince in June 2017. The 2017 U.S. Department of State report on human rights in Saudi Arabia explicitly mentioned the risk of detention faced by Jamal Khashoggi.
Khashoggi’s killing comes after more than a year of arrests targeting an increasing number of human rights defenders and activists. This has included journalists, women’s rights activists, religious clerics and academics, many of whom remain arbitrarily detained without charge for their peaceful dissent and human rights work. In July 2018, Saudi authorities arrested Samar Badawi, a brave human rights defender who won an award from the State Department in 2012 for her fight to secure women’s suffrage and end the guardianship system, under which women cannot marry, work, or travel without a male relative’s permission.
Following his trip to Saudi Arabia, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was assured by Saudi officials that, “they will conduct a complete and thorough investigation”. Yet Saudi authorities have repeatedly aimed to conceal their role in Khashoggi’s disappearance and death. They initially claimed Khashoggi left the embassy of his own accord and, when pressed for evidence of their assertion, the Saudi public prosecution said that he died as the result of a “fist-fight”. Simply put, the investigation findings put forward by Saudi authorities are not trustworthy and lack credibility. An independent, UN-mandated investigation is the only hope to get the full truth about what happened to Khashoggi and to convey to Saudi officials that they will not evade accountability for this crime.
Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter. Should you or your staff have additional questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Daniel Balson, advocacy director covering the Middle East and North Africa at [email protected].
Amnesty International USA