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The disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi

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Jamal Khashoggi
Jamal Khashoggi

THE world has virtually been quaking since the drama of the disappearance and, shortly after, obvious murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi on October 2 hit the airwaves. He was said to have been murdered inside the Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey where he had gone to obtain paperwork to enable him get married to his fiancée, Hatice Cengiz. Khashoggi, who was a columnist for the Washington Post and a US resident, went into the consulate on October 2 and has not been seen alive ever since. Initial exchanges between Saudi Arabia and Turkey related to whether or not the journalist came out from the consulate, with the Turkish authorities maintaining that he had been brutally killed and his body dismembered by Saudi authorities inside it. But after weeks of denial, the Saudi government, last Friday, admitted that Jamal Khashoggi had died within the diplomatic compound, claiming that he was accidentally killed during a brawl with an official.

Khashoggi’s murder is a throwback to the deadly connivance of international cartels and nations in eliminating vociferous and outspoken people whom they cannot stand. It is also a clear indication that censorship of journalists, the written word and outspoken irritants to governments and powerful individuals has not ceased. It is a clear assault on free speech and a swelling of intolerance in the globe. From the trail of evidence and submissions so far made, it is obvious that Khashoggi was killed by a gang in the Saudi Arabian governmental hierarchy. The defence put up by the government after its earlier spirited denials is tepid and incapable of shielding the country from blame in the journalist’ murder.

The events leading to his death and thereafter have proven that Khashoggi’s murder was a top-level international conspiracy. For instance, according to a CNN report, immediately after he was assassinated, a senior Turkish official gave the news organisation surveillance footage which showed Jamal Khashoggi entering the Saudi consulate. This footage, CNN placed side by side another footage of a Saudi top official, Mustafa Al-Madani, attired in the very clothes Khashoggi wore while entering the consulate. It was ostensibly worn after his death to fool the world that he had left the consulate. A Saudi source who spoke with CNN refrained from commenting on why the Saudi Arabian government sent its operative to act as a body double if indeed its claim that Khashoggi’s death was accidental was to be believed.

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After the revelations of Saudi Arabia’s apparent implication in this murder, the narrative of where it stood on the tragedy began on an embarrassing swing. The country’s foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir, disclosed that Khashoggi’s murder was a “tremendous mistake” and that Saudi Arabia could not say where his body was. “The individuals who did this did it outside the scope of authority. There obviously was a tremendous mistake made, and what compounded the mistake was the attempt to try to cover up. That is unacceptable in any government,” he said. The killing of Khashoggi is an international embarrassment, a backward swing for the international community in its battle of several decades for free speech and to wean the word from the hands of cabals who seek to silence both the word and its emissaries for embarrassing them.

The Saudi Arabian government must be forced to accept that it was involved in an infernal gang-up against free speech, an anathema in a world which prides itself on being anchored on free speech. The Khashoggi saga is not only an embarrassment to the world, it recalls unpleasant memories of old about how despots proclaimed the death of journalists and the abridgement of free speech. The Saudi government must come clean on the issue. Though it has affirmed that Jamal Khashoggi died during a brawl within the embassy, it must accept that it actually connived with some other persons to kill the journalist.

While further details on the killing are being awaited, Khashoggi’s death has awakened the world to the high probability that many lesser mortals may have disappeared in similar circumstances in Saudi Arabia and other countries where the tendency towards tolerance by leaders is at the lowest ebb. The list of those responsible for this unwarranted, callous and infernal murder of a law-abiding citizen of the world must be made public. They must be held to account and dealt with in line with international law. Strict punishment must also be meted out to Saudi Arabia if its complicity is fully ascertained. If the truth of this murder is not unearthed, it will seem to show that it is acceptable for other intolerant persons and nations in the world to murder critics.

 

 

The post The disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi appeared first on Tribune.

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