UN asks Saudis to respond to RSF concern about Khashoggi

Oct. 16, 2018 – The United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances is taking urgent action in the case of missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in response to a joint request by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and two other human rights NGOs.

The UN Working Group confirmed to RSF yesterday that it initiated an urgent action procedure with the Saudi authorities on October 11 on the basis of RSF’s referral in the case of missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and that it sent a copy to the Turkish authorities.

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The procedure was initiated one day after RSF and the other two human rights NGOs – the Geneva-based Al Karama and the London-based ALQST ­– jointly referred the case to the Working Group.

The referral said: “The Saudi authorities are believed to be responsible for Mr. Khashoggi’s disappearance, as his abduction took place in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. On 2 October 2018, Mr. Khashoggi and his fiancée Ms. Hatice Cengiz visited the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Upon arrival at the consulate, Saudi officials banned Ms. Cengiz from entering the consulate with Mr. Khashoggi, forcing her to wait for him outside. Mr. Khashoggi then entered the consulate alone at 13:14 p.m. (as confirmed by CCTV footage), but failed to reappear. His fate and whereabouts remain unknown to date.”

The well-known Saudi newspaper columnist’s disappearance has come amid a crackdown on critics of the Saudi government in which more than 15 journalists and bloggers have been arrested in a completely opaque manner in Saudi Arabia since last September.

Between 25 and 30 professional and non-professional journalists are currently detained in Saudi Arabia, which is ranked 169th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2018 World Press Freedom Index.