The US ‘honored Jamal Khashoggi’s "extraordinary life and legacy” on the third anniversary of his murder, with a statement Saturday from Washington’s Secretary of State.
“In his memory, we recommit to advocating for freedom of expression and the protection of journalists, activists, and dissidents everywhere,” Antony Blinken said in the statement. “The United States will always stand by and protect the principle that individuals everywhere should be able to exercise their human rights without fear of punishment or harm.”
Khashoggi, a Saudi dissident and columnist for The Washington Post, was brutally murdered and likely dismembered after being lured by Saudi officials to their consulate in Istanbul in October 2018. While Riyadh initially denied any role in his death, it later sought to pin blame on what it said was a botched rendition operation.
That explanation has been widely rejected.
Blinken said the US “launched a coordinated effort to prevent and respond to any government targeting journalists, activists, and dissidents beyond its borders, bringing together diplomatic, law enforcement, and intelligence tools to deter repressive governments and better protect targeted individuals and groups, including within the United States.”
He also said Washington developed a global visa restriction policy bearing Jamal Khashoggi’s name which includes revoking visas “for persons involved in the extraterritorial targeting of journalists, activists, or perceived dissidents anywhere in the world.”
“President (Joe) Biden has made clear that the United States puts human rights at the center of our foreign policy, and I have emphasized to our diplomats that standing up for human rights is squarely in America’s national interests and strengthens our national security,” he added.