MEP: Riyadh will not get away with murder

Published 20.02.2019 00:07

The killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was discussed in a debate held by the European Parliament's Subcommittee on Human Rights in Brussels, which underlined that the kingdom will not get away with the murder. Speakers, which included members of the European Parliament and victims of human rights abuse in the Middle East, held speeches on the general human rights situation on the Arabian peninsula. The European Parliament's Subcommittee on Human Rights Chair Pier Antonio Panzeri, and the fiancee of the murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Hatice Cengiz, also held a press conference after the debate.

An Italian member of the European Parliament, Panzeri said Europe should show a solid commitment for justice in Khashoggi's case and added, "We will not let Saudi Arabia get away with the murder."

Cengİz thanked members of European Parliament for extending support to the case and said her fight for justice is not solely for losing her fiance but also to contribute bringing Khashoggi's dream of seeing a Middle East that respects human rights and dignity.

Stating that her presence at the European Parliament for such a debate was a humanitarian duty, Cengiz said she was also looking forward to seeing possible sanctions against Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, Panzeri said the killing of Khashoggi must not be forgotten and an international investigation must be launched to dig deep down into the incident. "This dramatic incident must be kept alive," he said.

The parliamentarian also said that the Subcommittee on Human Rights requested to pay a visit to Saudi Arabia to observe the situation of human rights, especially violations against women. He added that Saudi authorities have not responded to the request yet.

Other speakers included European Parliament deputy Michele Alliot-Marie, the chair of the delegation for relations with the Arab peninsula, Matthew Hedges, the British doctoral student who was arrested in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatari human rights activist Wafa Al-Yazidi, and the former Bahraini parliamentarian sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment in November 2018, Ali Alaswad.

Khashoggi was killed in Saudi Arabia's Istanbul Consulate on Oct. 2 by a team of 15 people consisting of Saudi officials who arrived in Turkey for his murder and a cover-up operation, including dismembering Khashoggi's body. After offering numerous contradictory explanations, Riyadh later said Khashoggi had been killed and his body dismembered when negotiations to persuade him to return to Saudi Arabia failed, but denied any involvement by the royal family. The incident was blamed on lower-level officials, with Saudi authorities detaining some of the suspects and seeking the death penalty for five of them.

Khashoggi's murder prompted unprecedented international outcry and forced many countries to reassess their ties with Riyadh. Western countries including Germany, France and Canada have placed sanctions on nearly 20 Saudi nationals, while the murder has damaged Riyadh's international reputation as the case turned the spotlight on Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

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