On Oct. 2, 2018, Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi Arabian reporter for The Washington Post, was murdered at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi Arabian government, entered the consulate and has not been seen since then.
Why was Khashoggi killed?
Khashoggi left Saudi Arabia in an act of “self-exile.” After arriving in the U.S, he was eager to incorporate Arab culture into The Washington Post by openly sharing details of the Saudi Arabian government.
His words as a journalist resonated with the Arab world, and his vision to ease the oppression present in Saudi Arabia resulted in Prince Mohammed bin Salman attempting to silence and blacklist him.
“Journalists believe people should know the truth,” history teacher Ariana Rodriguez said. “That’s probably why he was assassinated because he wanted people to know the truth.”
From criticizing the patriarchal values to the corruption of the crowned princes in Saudi Arabia, the journalist came to be known as a staunch defender of human rights and the freedom of the press.
“There is a linkage to the Constitution,” Rodriguez said. “Even if [journalists] are critical of the government, that’s their job. Our country was founded based on people critical of the government.”
How was Khashoggi killed?
The president of Turkey—Recep Tayyip Erdogan—says there is evidence that the killing was planned days in advance. 15 Saudi nationals arrived at the consulate before the murder and deactivated all security cameras and surveillance footage before Khashoggi’s arrival. Once Khashoggi entered, he was strangled and tortured before his brutal kill.
Currently, details of his murder are unknown. However, officials have determined that Khashoggi was ambushed and tortured directly after entering the consulate.
How did President Trump and American citizens react?
Many foreign countries including Denmark and Germany have cut trade ties with Saudi Arabia due to Khashoggi’s death. However, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia are still trading with each other. President Donald Trump’s comments confirm that Saudi Arabia and the U.S. are still secure allies and will continue to be indefinitely, but California has a different take on the issue.
“If we relate California, we are a little bit more liberal than most so we might have a bigger and fiery response to stories like that,” Rodriguez said. “Especially if we feel that it was not acknowledged.”
Although President Trump’s stance on Khashoggi’s death is cloudy, one thing is clear: he continues to maintain an alliance with Saudi Arabia because he values oil exports. According to BBC, he has avoided and dismissed all CIA reports on Prince Mohammed’s order of the killing to keep the economic benefits, trading deals and the U.S. and Saudi Arabian 90-year alliance.
Khashoggi’s death changed the perspective on freedom of expression globally. As a citizen of the United States, his murder swayed American citizens’ perspectives on human rights.
“Some were upset that the government did not support journalists and that they didn’t protect someone from the United States,” Rodriguez said. “They didn’t support what happened to him or denounce the people involved.”
Despite people’s strong emotions about Khashoggi’s murder, President Trump will maintain political ties with Saudi Arabia.