The torture-murder of dissident Saudi Arabian journalist-publisher Jamal Khashoggi on 2nd October, 2018, definitively portrays to the world the crudity and barbarity of the monarchist clique that holds sway over the country of Arabia, the birthplace of one of the world’s great religions. Whether Jamal Khashoggi has broken any law is immaterial. What is central to this horrific incident of inhuman cruelty was the fact that he was deliberately murdered without any charges or trial.
The formal accusation of a suspected perpetrator of a crime (as defined by law), her/his lawful court prosecution and, conviction and punishment in accordance with accepted minimum civilised standards of judicial practice – including proportionality – is what is to expected of any state and government that claims to be conducting affairs in a manner that commands legitimacy and respect by the global community of nations. What seems to have happened to Jamal Khashoggi after he entered the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, is in total contravention of these basic civilised norms.
Worse, in addition to his alleged extra-judicial killing, the agents of the Saudi regime are suspected to have tortured Khashoggi before killing him and seemingly hidden away his body. Even worse, the crime was committed by Saudi agents in a Saudi governmental facility (the consulate) hosted by another country.
To date, there is no direct evidence that the Saudi monarchy directed this horrifically disgusting behaviour. But the very fact that the Saudi monarchy first denied any knowledge of the killing – for over two weeks – and now acknowledges that the team of fifteen senior governmental officials especially sent to Istanbul to apparently interdict Khashoggi were actually involved in his so-called ‘accidental’ death exposes the cold-blooded deceit that overlay the gruesome crime itself. It affirms the reality of the Saudi monarchy as one of the most repressive states in the world and we stand in solidarity with the Arabian people.
The South Asian Free Media Association is a region-wide body of socially concerned professional journalists committed to professional excellence and also to advocating social justice and social peace. SAFMA is committed firmly to achieving the full establishment of the rule of law, the protection of all human rights, combating social discrimination of all kinds from caste to gender to ethnic, and the mitigation of poverty.
SAFMA Sri Lanka takes up the case of the Jamal Kashoggi as an example of the continued suppression of human expression and one that is particularly savage and abhorrent to civilisation. The abduction, torture, physical maiming, and murder of journalists have occurred in Sri Lanka scores of times. The intimidation and physical assaultof journalists has occurred hundreds of times over the last several decades.
Although SAFMA Sri Lanka, along with numerous other local and foreign human rights organisations, has advocated against these numerous and constant abuses of human rights and displays of political barbarity, there has been little investigation and almost no prosecution of perpetrators. And journalists are just one section of Sri Lankan society among many other sectors – especially ethnic minorities – which have been, and continue to be, subjected to such inhuman treatment.
Attempts to raise international attention to these crimes have mainly resulted in the advocating groups, themselves, being subject to harassment and political terror.
This is why the Khashoggi case is a moment to remind our own citizens of the similar barbarities perpetrated in our own country that have yet to be effectively acted upon. The attempt by the Saudi regime to evade direct responsibility and, at first, to hide the fact of the murder of Khashoggi, painfully reminds Sri Lankan citizens of the similar antics and deceit of our successive governments in attempts to cover-up similar horrendous crimes.
The descriptions of inhuman physical torture now emerging from Turkey’s criminal investigation painfully remind us of similar past barbarities in our own country. We are reminded of the ominous potential yet provided by existing laws such as the Prevention of Terrorism Act and the legal authority to dispose of bodies without strict judicial inquiry, that have enabled the committing of such crimes. Whatever the pretensions of Western governmental backers of the Saudi monarchy, SAFMA-SL shares in the shame of the world community over the Khashoggi atrocity.
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