One year on, Turkish human rights advocates lament inaction on Khashoggi murder

A vigil for Jamal Khashoggi began today with a moment of silence in front of the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul at 1:14 p.m., the time the journalist entered the building one year ago, never to be seen by the outside world again.

On the anniversary of his murder, details of Khashoggi’s disappearance remain unconfirmed. The prominent Saudi journalist turned Washington Post columnist in exile following his criticism of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s government continues to weigh on the kingdom’s foreign relations and discussions of international press freedom.

Now, as the perpetrators of the crime have yet to face justice, global leaders and companies are resuming relations with the Saudi government, which is widely believed to have directed the murder. Human rights advocates are concerned impunity would come to define the Khashoggi case, setting a dangerous precedent for press freedom worldwide.

“Our biggest fear is that the international community allows Saudi Arabia to be somehow rehabilitated in terms of its reputation and to go back to normal,” Scott Griffen, deputy director at the Vienna-based International Press Institute, told Al-Monitor.

Griffen added that the case “both shows the huge challenge we face in holding those who kill journalists to account and, unfortunately, I think it potentially emboldens violence against journalists. If a state like Saudi Arabia can get away with this kind of act openly, then this certainly sends a message that others could potentially do it, as well.”

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