HIMMAT is starting off as a blog by Rajmohan Gandhi who has written on the Indian independence movement and its leaders, South Asian history, India-Pakistan relations, human rights and conflict resolution. His latest book is Modern South India: A History from the Seventeenth Century to the Present (New Delhi: Aleph, forthcoming).

Jamal Khashoggi

The world has been following the case of the disappearance and suspected assassination of the Saudi writer and journalist, sixty years old Jamal Khashoggi on the second of October 2018.

Mr. Jamal described himself as a sincere and honest adviser to the leaders of his country, the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is said that Khashoggi left Saudi Arabia more than one year ago. His Saudi wife Dr. Alla Nassif tried to catch up with him but the Saudi authorities did not allow her to leave the country and forced her husband to divorce her. 

Khashoggi went to the Saudi embassy in Washington to demand a certified document proving his divorce in order to be able to marry a Turkish journalist. The strange thing is that he was told he should get that paper from the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. So he travelled to Turkey, went on Friday 28th September 2018 to the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, asked for the paper and was told to return on Tuesday 2nd of October 2018 to receive the paper. 

On Tuesday, he returned to the Saudi consulate with his Turkish fiancée to pick up the document. He entered the building while his fiancée waited outside. She waited and waited for hours but he never came out. So she reported that to the Turkish authorities. 

The news spread fast around the world. The Saudi authorities said that he left the consulate after twenty minutes and accompanied the Reuter news agency personnel in a tour of the building, opened cupboards and cabinets to prove that Khashoggi is not in the building. The monitoring cameras showed Khashoggi moving steadily into the consulate but did not show him coming out. 

Stories were leaking that Khashoggi was savagely tortured, injected, killed and then butchered with an electric saw, wrapped and smuggled out of the consulate. It was reported that fifteen Saudis were involved in that awful massacre and that they had travelled by two private planes to Istanbul and left in the same day although they had booked rooms in a move-and-pick hotel for four days. 

After eighteen days the Saudi government declared that Khashoggi died in a fight inside the consulate which contradicts the earlier story that he left the consulate after twenty minutes. What is even more ridiculous is the Saudi consulate driver saying that he handed Khashoggi’s dead body to a local undertaker to bury it. This is unbelievable. Even if Khashoggi died in a fight, why did not the consulate staff report right away to the Turkish authorities and to Khashoggi’s family or fiancée??!!!

It is true that the world is currently witnessing violent conflicts, devastating wars forcing millions to leave their homes and seek refuge in other countries, and terrorist attacks killing innocent civilians, especially in the Middle East region, yet what happened to Gamal Khashougi is unprecedented. 

A diplomatic building is meant to be a sanctuary not a savage crime scene. The world has firmly denounced such a disgraceful act. Some high-level officials in several countries decided to boycott the forth coming Desert Davos conference in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, which is a moral stand, upholding the sanctity of human life. The secretary general of the UN also demanded a transparent independent investigation about that tragic incident.

May God Almighty reveal the truth and may justice be done and may God bless Khashoggi’s soul and accept him as a martyr. 

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This statement was made on 20 Oct 2018 

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