Five years on, still no accountability for Jamal Khashoggi’s murder

Update: 2, October, 2023: This release was edited for clarity after publishing, changing wording slightly in the comments from Ben Grazda, U.S. Campaigner, Access Now.

Today, October 2, marks five years since Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was brutally murdered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. Through a joint statement, Access Now and other human rights organizations are urging U.S. President Biden to push for real accountability and substantial, genuine human rights improvements by the Saudi government.

According to U.S. intelligence, Khashoggi’s murder was approved by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS). Despite promising to hold Saudi Arabia accountable for the murder, the Biden administration has yet to support an international, independent, and impartial investigation. 

It’s been a half a decade since Jamal Khashoggi’s heinous murder, but to date, no one has been held accountable. Meanwhile, the U.S. administration and tech companies are helping to rehabilitate Saudi Arabia’s reputation by ignoring the country’s undeterred repression and abuse of human rights. This sends Saudi Arabia the dangerous message that it can commit crimes with full impunity – and it must stop now Marwa Fatafta, MENA Policy and Advocacy Manager, Access Now

Since Khashoggi’s murder, the Saudi government has used NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware to monitor Khashoggi’s family and acquaintances – demonstrating how far they are willing to go to silence dissenting voices. Five years on, NSO Group’s spyware is still being used to target journalists and human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia and across the world.

As the Biden administration and their international partners spearhead the global fight against malicious commercial spyware – and the opaque companies behind it – the U.S. government must make clear to friends and foe alike that targeting journalists, human rights defenders, and their loved ones with invasive surveillance technology is a violation of fundamental human rights and will be met with meaningful consequences Ben Grazda, U.S. Campaigner, Access Now

The Biden administration must urgently address pressing human rights issues in Saudi Arabia, including the unjust persecution of journalists and activists. In line with his administration’s commitment to human rights, democracy, and justice, Access Now urges President Biden to demand an end to Saudi authorities’ abuse of international arrest warrants and surveillance of dissidents abroad, and to push for the release of imprisoned human rights defenders.