09.26.19

Remarks on the One Year Anniversary of the Murder of Jamal Khashoggi

Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, today we remember, and remind the world, that nearly one year has passed since the premeditated murder of Jamal Khashoggi by the Saudi Government.

That horrific crime – carried out so brazenly as if it were just a routine job – exposed the true character of the Saudi Government not only as it pertains to Mr. Khashoggi, but to the ruthless treatment of critics of the Saudi royal family more broadly.

While the Crown Prince systematically orders the execution of his opponents, he has so far escaped punishment for the murder of Mr. Khashoggi and for the lies about that crime.

Multiple Saudi officials, including the Foreign Minister, Minister of Interior, and others – all members of the royal family – flagrantly and shamelessly lied to the world, repeatedly changing their story.

The Crown Prince called Khashoggi a “dangerous jihadist”.That too was a lie.

The Saudis, who have refused to turn over Mr. Khashoggi’s remains, insist that the men who were arrested are the only ones involved in the murder.No one who knows anything about the Saudi royal family, which is the Saudi Government, believes that.

Despite all the incriminating evidence and all the lies, the White House continues to ignore its own intelligence experts and the UN Special Rapporteur, relying instead on the Saudi royal family to investigate itself.What a sham.

This crime reminds us that journalists the world over who shine a spotlight on corrupt, repressive governments risk their lives and the safety of their families.They are threatened and killed for nothing more than doing their job.

Today we are also concerned about the fate of hundreds of courageous pro-democracy activists who have recently been arrested for protesting against corruption and repression in Egypt.Journalists, members of opposition political parties, and civil society activists in Egypt are routinely persecuted, denied due process, and subjected to prolonged physical and psychological abuse.

If the Saudi royal family can escape punishment for the premeditated murder of a Washington Post journalist, what does that say to journalists everywhere?What does it say about our own government, if we accept that?

I want to remind the Saudi Government, the White House, and the State Department that we do not – and we will not – accept that.Jamal Khashoggi was murdered and there is no reasonable doubt about who is culpable.Justice will be done.No matter how long it takes.

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