The Guilfordian

Journalist Jamal Khashoggi killed in Istanbul

On Oct. 2, Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi went missing after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey to finalize his marriage. Two weeks after his disappearance, the Saudi government confirmed that Khashoggi had been killed within the consulate.

“What we know is sufficient to suggest very strongly that Mr. Khashoggi was the victim of an extrajudicial execution and that the Saudi Arabia government is implicated in one way or another,” said The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, Agnes Callamard.

Khashoggi, who studied at Indiana State University, began his career covering the Soviet-Afghan War. After becoming a prominent journalist in the Middle East, Khashoggi was hired to head the Saudi news channel Alarab, where he gained high standing with the Saudi royals.

In 2017, two years after the closing of Alarab, Khashoggi relocated to the United States after losing favor with Saudi Arabia’s government for publishing many stories critical of the government’s stances. Khashoggi was killed after going to Istanbul to receive divorce papers and marry his then fiancée, Hatice Cengiz.

“To think that someone would have to flee their home country just because of their ideas is scary. On top of that, the fact that Khashoggi was killed for criticizing the Saudi Regime is appalling to me,” said Early College student Rohan Akki.

Three days before the initial disappearance of Khashoggi, he was interviewed by the BBC’s Newshour program. “The people being arrested are not even being dissidents, they just have an independent mind,” Khashoggi said in the interview. “I don’t call myself an opposition: I always say I’m just a writer, I want a free environment to write and speak my mind and that’s what I do in the Washington Post.”

Guilford students expressed disappointment over Khashoggi’s treatment.

“I find it really sad that this kind of thing can still happen in the modern day,” said first-year Dalal Ahmidouch.

As the world was notified of Khashoggi’s disappearance in early October, there was much confusion surrounding the situation, including confusion in the White House.

Promptly after the being alerted of Khashoggi’s disappearance, President Donald Trump claimed that there was not enough evidence to know if the journalist had been murdered inside the consulate, despite considerable evidence to support that idea. However, Trump’s claims soon changed, admitting that the journalist had most likely been murdered on Saudi government command in the consulate.

Between Oct. 15 and 19, Trump sent out various tweets concerning the situation, mostly discussing how the Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman claimed that there was no murder and how “the meeting between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo went well”.

“They had a very bad original concept, it was carried out poorly and the cover-up was the worst in the history of cover-ups,” Trump said to a reporter in the Oval Office. “Whoever thought of that idea, I think is in big trouble. And they should be in big trouble.”

The president’s response has sparked a backlash among concerned citizens.

“I guess I’m not really sure what to think about all of this,” said Junior Beka Bililign. “If the U.S. government doesn’t think it’s a matter worth their time, then what reason do the people have to put effort into the matter if they think that it will most likely change nothing?”

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