Advocacy update

In Light of U.N. Khashoggi Investigation, Open Society Justice Initiative Renews Calls for Accountability

June 19, 2019
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NEW YORK— A new report by the United Nations extrajudicial executions investigator has found there is “credible evidence” that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud and other senior officials are liable for the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The damming report from Agnes Callamard, special rapporteur for extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, also said that the United Nations secretary general should establish an international criminal investigation on the Khashoggi murder.

The report's call for accountability underlines the importance of a lawsuit filed by the Open Society Justice Initiative under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, which seeks the immediate release of government records relating to the killing of Khashoggi, a U.S. resident and Washington Post columnist.

Amrit Singh, lead lawyer for the Justice Initiative on the filing, said:

“The report underscores just how important it is for the CIA, and the Departments of State and Defense to publicly disclose records related to Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, including those relating to the CIA’s finding that the Saudi Crown prince is responsible.

More generally, it is a clarion call for the international community to deliver justice for Jamal. It is shameful that governments have chosen to prioritize money and arms sales over holding the Saudi government accountable for its flagrant disregard for the rule of law.”

The suit seeks the release of all records “including but not limited to the CIA’s findings on and/or assessment of the circumstances under which he was killed and/or the identities of those responsible.”

The federal judge overseeing the FOIA case has set a series of imminent deadlines for the relevant government departments to process a first tranche of requested documents, which means they have to either produce the documents, or claim that they are unable to release them citing national security or other approved exemptions.

The Departments of State, Defense and Justice have their first processing deadline on June 30; the National Security Agency's deadline is June 26, and the Central Intelligence Agency and Office of the Director of National Intelligence have deadlines of June 28 and July 12.  

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