Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi journalist died at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, five years ago this week.
In a joint statement Access Now and other human rights organizations are urging U.S. President Biden to push for what they call “real accountability and substantial, genuine human rights improvements by the Saudi government.”
The statement reads, “Despite promising to hold Saudi Arabia accountable for the murder, the Biden administration has yet to support an international, independent, and impartial investigation.
“It’s been a half a decade since Jamal Khashoggi’s heinous murder, but to date, no one has been held accountable,” said Marwa Fatafta, MENA Policy and Advocacy Manager at Access Now.
“Meanwhile, the U.S. administration and tech companies are helping to rehabilitate Saudi Arabia’s reputation by turning a blind eye to the country’s undeterred repression and abuse of human rights. This sends Saudi Arabia the dangerous message that it can commit crimes with full impunity – and it must stop now,”added the statement.
It goes on, “Since Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, the Saudi government has used NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware to monitor Khashoggi’s family – demonstrating how far they are willing to go to silence dissent. Five years on, NSO Group’s spyware is still being used to target journalists and human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia and across the world.”
“As the Biden Administration aspires to lead the global fight against malicious commercial spyware – and the opaque companies behind it – the US Government must make clear to friends and foe alike that targeting journalists, human rights defenders, and their loved ones with invasive surveillance technology is a violation of fundamental human rights and will be met with meaningful consequences.” said Ben Grazda, US Campaigner at Access Now.
The statement adds, “The Biden administration must urgently address pressing human rights issues in Saudi Arabia, including the unjust persecution of journalists. In line with his administration’s commitment to human rights, democracy, and justice, Access Now urges President Biden to demand an end to Saudi authorities’ abuse of international arrest warrants and surveillance of dissidents abroad, and to push for the release of imprisoned human rights defenders.”
Image: By April Brady / POMED – Mohammed bin Salman's Saudi Arabia: A Deeper Look, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=73742140