Saudi Crown Prince: Khashoggi’s Killers Will Be Brought to Justice

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Saudi Crown Prince: Khashoggi’s Killers Will Be Brought to Justice

(WHAT IS THE CROWN PRINCE GOING TO DO, HANG HIMSELF? IS IT MORE LIKELY HE WILL FIND 15 OTHER ENEMIES TO BLAME, AND HANG THEM?)
Wednesday, 24 October, 2018 – 17:00
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at FII 2018 in Riyadh. (SPA)
Asharq Al-Awsat

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, described on Wednesday the murder of a citizen Jamal Khashoggi as “ugly and painful” to Saudis and the world.

“We are working with Turkey to uncover the truth and complete the investigations. We will bring the criminals to justice,” he told the Future Investment Initiative forum that is being held in Riyadh.

Some sides are exploiting the Khashoggi case to drive a wedge between Saudi Arabia and Turkey, he continued.

“I want to send them a message that they cannot do this as long as King Salman is here, and the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is in Saudi Arabia and the head of Turkey, whose name is (Recep Tayyip) Erdogan … this division won’t happen.”

On the economy, Prince Mohammed said: “Numbers will speak about the improvement of the Saudi economy.”

“We will continue to develop our country and no one will stop us,” he vowed.

“I believe the new Europe will be the Middle East and the region will be different in five years’ time,” he stated.

Jamal Khashoggi’s Son Meets Saudi King And Crown Prince In Disgraceful Photo Op

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HUFFINGTON POST)

 

Jamal Khashoggi’s Son Meets Saudi King And Crown Prince In Disgraceful Photo Op

Salah Khashoggi likely had no real choice to refuse the man who allegedly ordered his father’s murder.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (right) shakes hands with Salah Khashoggi, son of Jamal Khashoggi, in Riyadh on Oct. 2

SAUDI PRESS AGENCY VIA ASSOCIATED PRESS
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (right) shakes hands with Salah Khashoggi, son of Jamal Khashoggi, in Riyadh on Oct. 23, 2018.

Officials in Saudi Arabia summoned Salah Khashoggi, the eldest son of the late journalist Jamal Khashoggi, to a palace in Riyadh on Tuesday, where he posed for photos with King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

While the Saudis claim that the son “expressed … great thanks to the Saudi King and Crown Prince for their condolences,” the pictures suggest otherwise, and with good reason.

Mohammed bin Salman reportedly ordered the operation that resulted in the death, allegedly by torture, of Jamal Khashoggi earlier this month. His body was allegedly then dismembered. Under international pressure, the Saudis admitted last week that Khashoggi died in an altercation in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2

Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist, was living in the U.S.

King Salam (right) speaks to Salah Khashoggi during the photo op.

ASSOCIATED PRESS
King Salam (right) speaks to Salah Khashoggi during the photo op.

Salah Khashoggi himself has been barred from leaving Saudi Arabia since last year because of his father’s criticism of the Saudi regime, a friend of the Khashoggi family told the Associated Press.

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Regardless of the intent behind the staged photos, the event didn’t sit well with observers on Twitter, many of whom noted its similarity to other forced photo ops with murderous tyrants:

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Jorge Guajardo

@jorge_guajardo

MBS meeting with Khasshogi’s son in Saudi Arabia (left) reminded me of Saddam Hussein meeting with foreign “guests” (unable to leave) in Iraq before Desert Storm.

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Elizabeth Tsurkov

@Elizrael

The photo shoot of Khashoggi’s son with MbS, the man who probably ordered the murder of his father, reminds me of the time @WJoumblatt had to go meet Hafez al-Assad, shortly after apparently Hafez ordered the murder of Walid’s father, Kamal. Video: http://bit.ly/2R4wfwS 

Piers Morgan

@piersmorgan

REPULSIVE.
Saudi tyrant ‘MBS’ – aka Mohammed Bone Saw – forces Jamal Khashoggi’s son to do a PR photo-op handshake, days after ordering his father’s torture, dismemberment & murder.
A new low, even by the medieval standards of this barbaric crown prince.

Rula Jebreal

@rulajebreal

This is sickening! I’m outraged
The Saudi Regime is forcing Salah Jamal Khashoggi, Jamal Khashoggi’s own son, to shake the hand of the mastermind behind his father’s murderer.
The international community must pressure King Salman to lift the travel ban on Salah Jamal Khashoggi.

Ragıp Soylu

@ragipsoylu

BREAKING — Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince MbS met two members of #Khashoggi family, one of them is son Salah – SPA

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If Saudi Arabia Is Honest About Reform They Must Free Raif Badawi!

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME NEWS)

 

Ensaf Haidar, wife of the jailed Saudi Arabian blogger Raif Badawi, shows a portrait of her husband as he is awarded with the Sakharov Prize, on Dec. 16, 2015 in Strasbourg, France.
Ensaf Haidar, wife of the jailed Saudi Arabian blogger Raif Badawi, shows a portrait of her husband as he is awarded with the Sakharov Prize, on Dec. 16, 2015 in Strasbourg, France.
Christian Lutz—AP/REX/Shutterstock
IDEAS
Silver is a member of Raif Badawi’s international legal team; Abitbol is cofounder of the Raif Badawi Foundation for Freedom.

“We want to lead normal lives, lives where our religion and our traditions translate into tolerance.”

“For me, liberalism simply means, live and let live. This is a splendid slogan.”

Who could have imagined that these equally conciliatory concepts would result in such conflicting consequences?

Yet in Saudi Arabia, the advocate of one is heralded as a reformer, while the other is harassed for being a radical.

Indeed, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohamed bin Salman said the former; imprisoned Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, the latter.

Born one year apart, these millennials have given expression to the vision and values of a younger generation, one that is empowered by the digital age, implicated in a globalizing world and impervious to the religious orthodoxy of some clerical elite.

However, while the Crown Prince travels the world touting a transformed Kingdom, Badawi has languished in a Saudi prison for almost six years now, for professing his vision for remaking the region.

Using a blog to exercise his right to freedom of expression, Badawi unmasked a culture of corruption and criminality, as well as the impunity that underpinned them; he challenged religious intolerance and extremism, and sparked a discussion on modernization. In short, Badawi paved the way for today’s discourse and developments in Saudi Arabia concerning what the Crown Prince himself has called a “moderate Islam” and combating the “cancer of corruption.”

But will these commendable principles and policies have permanence, or were they simply a prelude to the Crown Prince’s Western ties–building tour and PR campaign? The litmus test for legitimacy is the freeing of Raif Badawi — the champion of these changes.

Indeed, releasing Raif would be in the kingdom’s own self-interest.

As the Crown Prince looks to raise foreign direct investment to 5.7% of GDP, he is seeking to “create an environment attractive to… foreign investors, and earn their confidence in the resilience and potential of [the Saudi] national economy.” Building this investor confidence will require increasing trust in Saudi legal norms, including those of constitutions and contracts — a crucial assurance for investors against arbitrary treatment.

Yet the treatment of Raif Badawi is in standing violation of domestic Saudi law and further obligations that Saudi Arabia has assumed under international law. The Court that convicted Badawi lacked jurisdiction. The witnesses in his case were inadmissible. He was denied his right to counsel — his lawyer and brother-in-law Waleed Abu Al-Khair was himself imprisoned — and he was not informed of the charges against him, nor given the necessary time and means to prepare his defense. His sentence of lashings was itself illegal — as physical torture is prohibited under the Arab Charter on Human Rightsratified by Saudi Arabia in 2009, and the U.N.’s Convention Against Torture, which the nation ratified in 1997. The criminalization of Badawi was ultimately the criminalization of the protected rights he sought to exercise and of freedom itself.

In the face of these standing violations of their own sacred laws and treaty agreements, why should investors trust that Saudi Arabia would respect their business commitments? Investors could just as easily be treated with the same arbitrariness. However, it is not too late for Saudi Arabia to make an important statement to the international investor community about rule of law and remedy these standing violations by releasing Badawi and his lawyer.

To release Badawi would also be a stroke of geostrategic genius.

Faced with the regional resurgence of violence emanating from the Iranian Regime — such as the recent firing of rockets at Riyadh by Iran-backed rebels in Yemen — the Saudi Crown Prince has been encouraging the international community to increase economic and political pressure against Iran. Similarly, the Crown Prince spearheaded a regional move to sever ties with Qatar to protect “national security from the dangers of terrorism and extremism.” The collective action aimed to pressure Qatar to end its support for terror groups, including elements of ISIS, Al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.

But when the Saudi ambassador to Canada tried to host a major press conference on Qatar with his Egyptian and Emirati counterparts in July 2017, his message was lost. Journalists asked about Badawi at the Conference — and the ambassadors were forced to abandon their advocacy on Qatar to defend the unjust imprisonment.

Indeed, Raif Badawi may be the most celebrated prisoner of conscience in the world today. Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, he is a recipient of scores of prestigious human rights awards and honorifics, including the Sakharov Prize of the European Parliament, the PEN Pinter Prize and the Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Prize. Foreign Policy named him as one of 2015’s 100 Leading Global Thinkers, and he received the Courage Award from a coalition of 20 human rights groups from around the world at the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy. His case and cause have been championed by a broad and inclusive cross-section of leaders from both civil service and civil society.

Rather than distract from Saudi efforts, releasing Badawi would help advance their campaign. Indeed, Badawi would be an articulate ally and spokesperson for shining a spotlight on Iran and Qatar, which are among the most regressive and repressive regimes in the world — and as a human rights activist Badawi has been a forceful critic of each. Living in liberty, Badawi — with his established and influential global network — can play a transformative role in growing a grassroots campaign and cultivating a collective coalition against the state-sanctioning and support of extremism of the Regimes in Iran and Qatar.

With such a critical mass of reasons to release Raif, any claims to the contrary are certainly surmountable.

The slippery slope argument — that the Saudi state would face an emboldened movement to release other prisoners, some of whom may pose a risk to national security — is mitigated by the exceptional nature of Badawi — an international icon, whose views now largely parallel those of the new Saudi leadership. His release would have a positive worldwide resonance, and attest to the genuine authenticity of reforms to this global audience.

Ultimately, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman has full authority to grant clemency. When he releases the list of pardons in advance of Ramadan next month, the Crown Prince should take the opportunity to propel his agenda forward — both within Saudi Arabia and across the globe — by freeing Raif Badawi, and allowing him to join in Canada his wife Ensaf, and children Najwa, Terad and Miriyam.