New York (February 26, 2021) – The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) commends the Biden Administration’s release of a declassified intelligence report on the murder of Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.
This report establishes the role played by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) in Khashoggi’s murder. MBS ordered the killing. Khashoggi, a peaceful advocate for democracy, freedom of expression, and universal human rights in Saudi Arabia, was brutally murdered on October 2, 2018, inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, on direct orders from MBS.
“We expect nothing less than justice for Jamal Khashoggi and all of Saudi Arabia’s brave dissidents,” said HRF President Thor Halvorssen. “MBS has proven that he is unfit to represent the Kingdom on the global stage and we applaud the Biden administration for choosing to engage directly with King Salman. Now the United States and the European Union must urgently place sanctions on MBS himself, along with those within his direct chain-of-command who were involved in the murder.”
Today’s intelligence report, provided by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, confirms the truths first revealed in HRF’s film, THE DISSIDENT, specifically, the accusation that MBS was behind the murder of Khashoggi, and meticulously shows the involvement of MBS’ close associates in the killing.
As part of its global campaign to bring attention to the abuses committed by the Saudi regime, HRF produced the critically-acclaimed documentary (directed by the Academy Award-winning director of ICARUS). THE DISSIDENT, released shortly after the second anniversary of Khashoggi’s murder, features a wealth of damning information that had never before been available to the public.
Khashoggi was a member of HRF’s global community, and he attended the Oslo Freedom Forum hosted by HRF in 2018, just months before his murder. Since then, HRF has led calls for Saudi Arabia’s leadership to be held accountable on the world stage for the assassination.
“THE DISSIDENT both preserves Khashoggi’s memory, as well as provides credible evidence about the role of the Crown Prince in his murder,” said film’s producer Jake Swantko. “I am grateful for the Biden Administration’s overdue release of the intelligence report, and I hope this is just a first step in establishing real accountability.”
The Biden Administration has already begun to recalibrate its relationship with Saudi Arabia; this report illustrates how critical it is that the United States continue to stand against egregious human rights violations, regardless of who is responsible.
“The murder of Jamal Khashoggi is a chilling illustration of the destruction that can result when extreme power goes unchecked,” said HRF President Thor Halvorssen. “Dictatorships can be undone through public exposure, and we are committed to sharing this story globally to ensure that MBS and his henchmen face justice. At last.”
About THE DISSIDENT
THE DISSIDENT is a 2020 United States documentary film directed and produced by Bryan Fogel. It follows the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi and Saudi Arabia’s effort to control international dissent. The film had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 24, 2020.
The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that promotes and protects human rights globally, with a focus on closed societies. For interview requests of further comment, please e-mail [email protected].