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Justice for Journalists

Journalists around the world risk their lives every day to shine a light on what those in power want to keep hidden. Those who end up paying the ultimate price deserve justice, not just for their own sake, but for the sake of the journalists who are still here, working to reveal to their readers, viewers, and listeners the world as it really is.

AMSTERDAM – It has been more than eight months since Jamal Khashoggi, a prominent Saudi journalist and critic of his home country’s government who had been living in self-exile, was tortured, killed, and dismembered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. As the Saudis bent over backward to obscure the truth about Khashoggi’s fate, Turkey launched an investigation. As expected, not much has come of it.

Turkey is hardly a credible advocate for press freedom: in 2018, more than 80 journalists in the country received long prison sentences or fines for their work. But even if the Turkish government’s indignation over Khashoggi’s murder was exaggerated for diplomatic gain, Turkey’s judiciary has complied with its international obligations to investigate.

Saudi Arabia, by contrast, is utterly flouting its obligations on this front. Under international pressure, the Kingdom is conducting hearings for 11 suspects. But according to Agnes Callamard, the United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions, these secretive, closed-door hearings are more about saving face than securing justice.

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