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.
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.
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.