U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks to the media after a closed briefing for senators in November 2018, on developments related to the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. A joint letter calls for congressional action in the pursuit of justice. (Reuters/Joshua Roberts)

Joint letter urges congressional action on Jamal Khashoggi case

By Michael De Dora, CPJ Washington Advocacy Manager on March 14, 2019 2:39 PM ET

The Committee to Protect Journalists today joined 10 human rights and press freedom groups in sending a letter to House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) leadership urging congressional action in the pursuit of justice for murdered Washington Post columnist and U.S. resident Jamal Khashoggi.

The groups commended the committee's chairman Eliot Engel and ranking member Michael McCaul for their statements that were critical of President Donald's Trump administration for ignoring a requirement under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act to provide Congress a report by February 8, determining responsibility for Khashoggi's murder--specifically addressing the role of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman--and whether the administration would impose sanctions.

The Trump administration imposed sanctions on 17 individuals in November, but these did not include several high-ranking Saudi officials implicated in the murder, including the Crown Prince.

The joint letter argued that, given the inaction by the administration and the severity of the crime, Congress must act, and it urged Engel and McCaul to demand that the Trump administration provide Congress with its determination of responsibility for the murder of Khashoggi, as well as any relevant information documenting how the administration came to its determination; and to consider holding hearings and/or issuing subpoenas to compel information, in line with Congress' constitutional oversight role.

CPJ has urged the U.S. government and the United Nations to conduct a full and transparent investigation into Khashoggi's murder at the Saudi consulate in Turkey on October 2. Learn more about CPJ's work on Khashoggi's case on CPJ's Justice for Jamal webpage.

Read the letter to the House Foreign Affairs Committee here.

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