A woman participates in a candlelight vigil in front of the Saudi Embassy in Washington D.C., on October 2, 2019, to mark the anniversary of the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. (Reuters/Sarah Silbiger)

CPJ, Knight Institute file FOIA for U.S. intelligence report on murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi

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Just a few days after the grim four year anniversary of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University and CPJ Thursday filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), the CIA, and the Public Interest Declassification Board seeking immediate release of a U.S. intelligence report on the 2018 murder of the journalist, who was a U.S. resident. Earlier this year, the board—a panel of experts appointed by the president and Congress—recommended that President Biden’s administration publicly release the report in its entirety. Nevertheless, the White House continues to withhold it.

In late 2018, the Knight Institute and CPJ filed FOIA requests for records showing whether U.S. intelligence agencies fulfilled their “duty to warn” Khashoggi of threats to his life and liberty. After the U.S. intelligence agencies failed to release documents, the organizations filed a lawsuit and the agencies released just 20 documents that failed to answer essential questions.

In the Philippines, journalist Percival Mabasa—better known as Percy Lapid—was gunned down inside his vehicle by unidentified assailants in Las Piñas City on Monday night. Lapid was on his way to work as the host of the “Lapid Fire” program on the DWBL 1242 radio station and had been a prominent critic of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and his predecessor Rodrigo Duterte in his commentaries and YouTube broadcasts.

In Rwanda on Wednesday, a court acquitted and released three Iwacu TV journalists—Damascene Mutuyimana, Shadrack Niyonsenga, and Jean Baptiste Nshimiyimana—detained since 2018. “The four years that these journalists lost behind bars are a great injustice, underscoring the willingness of Rwandan authorities to abuse judicial systems to the detriment of the press,” said CPJ’s sub-Saharan Africa representative Muthoki Mumo. “All those other journalists who remain behind bars in Rwanda for their work should be released without delay.”

Global press freedom updates

  • As of October 6, 36 journalists have been arrested in the Iranian protests, and there is one known release.
  • Somali journalist Ahmed Mohamed Shukur was killed while covering security operation
  • Israel Defense Forces shoot, injure two Palestinian journalists in Nablus
  • CPJ condemns Belarus “witch hunt” after three BelaPAN journalists sentenced to lengthy prison terms
  • Turkish parliament to vote on criminalizing the spread of “false information.” CPJ condemned the bill in a joint statement with 24 other organizations
  • Tajikistan journalist Abdullo Ghurbati was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison
  • Khashoggi’s legacy will forever haunt his killers, says CPJ’s Sherif Mansour
  • At least two Mexican journalists have been targeted by Pegasus spyware since López Obrador took office
  • Congolese authorities order Lomela city radio stations off the air over security concerns
  • Angolan opposition journalist’s wife was assaulted in apparent retaliation for his reporting
  • Taliban shuts down two news websites in Afghanistan
  • Guinea regulator orders one-month suspensions for three journalists and “Africa 2015” radio program
  • Mexican journalist Roberto Flores is missing in Comitán
  • Kurdistan 24 reporter is “wounded severely” in Iran’s shelling in Iraqi Kurdistan
  • The Global Network Initiative, of which CPJ is a founding member, condemns protest violence, internet restrictions in Iran


Egyptian journalist Alaa Abdelfattah was re-arrested in 2019, shortly after his release from prison. (YouTube/Mada Masr)

On September 29, CPJ joined 46 human rights organizations and individuals in calling for Egyptian authorities to immediately release Egyptian journalist and blogger Alaa Abdelfattah, his lawyer Mohamed el-Baker, and their codefendant Mohamed Oxygen after three years of imprisonment. The letter states that their continued imprisonment demonstrates a negligence of human rights entirely antithetical to Egypt’s position as host of the U.N. Climate Change Conference (COP 27) in November.

The 47 signatories to the letter also called on British authorities to intervene to secure the release of Abdelfattah, who obtained U.K. citizenship while in jail, noting that Abdelfattah’s health “has deteriorated to a critical and life-threatening point, following more than 180 days on hunger strike.”

Read the full letter here.

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