Exactly one year after the murder of the Saudi Journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Amnesty International has decided to rename Franklin Roosevelt Avenue, where the Saudi Arabian Embassy is located in Brussels, in his name. As a tribute, activists stood in front of the embassy holding signs with the new name of the street, “Jamal Khashoggi Avenue”, and commemorative posters.
Jamal Khashoggi was a Saudi Arabian dissident, author and columnist for The Washington Post. He has been killed one year ago – on the 2nd of October 2018 – at the Saudi consulate of Istambul. Recently, the Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed ben Salman, took full responsibility for the murder and defined it as a big mistake. However, Lynn Maalouf, director of research on the Middle East at Amnesty International, stated: “All the rhetoric about taking responsibility for Jamal Khashoggi’s homicide sound hollow if they do not come with the immediate and unconditional release of dozens of people who are languishing in prison and are at risk of torture and other ill-treatment, only for expressing their opinion peacefully”.
Amnesty International has documented at least 30 cases of prisoners of conscience currently serving sentences of between five and 30 years in prison just for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly.
Maalouf continues: “The announcement of Mohammed bin Salman, who assumes responsibility for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, will only be a communication failure if it is not accompanied by a determined, concrete and immediate action. The aim is to put an end to the crackdown, to release all human rights defenders and to let independent observers of the human rights situation circulate freely in the country, inter alia, to observe and report publicly on the ongoing trial. for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi”.