Jamal Khashoggi: Rename the streets in front of the embassies of Saudi Arabia for murdered journalists, say activists

Jamal Khashoggi: Rename the streets in front of the embassies of Saudi Arabia for murdered journalists, say activists

Governments around the world are being asked to rename Khashoggi Street streets honoring the murdered journalist.

In London, Amnesty International activists posted a mock sign "Khashoggi Street" at exactly 13.14 in front of the Saudi embassy, ​​a month before Jamal Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

The dissident journalist, the columnist of the Washington Post and a severe critic of the Saudi regime has not been seen since and is said to have been murdered in the building.

The movement began in America, where Mr. Khashoggi's friends and admirers petitioned Washington DC officials to rename the section of New Hampshire Avenue where the Saudi embassy sits as "Jamal Khashoggi Way."

Now, the effort to embarrass the journalist's suspected murderers has spread overseas. Amnesty International hopes that his stunt at the Saudi Embassy in Mayfair will prompt governments around the world to follow suit.

Kate Allen, director of Amnesty International UK, said, "The whole world is shaken by this grotesque murder, and it is extremely important that we do not end the outrage without justice.

"We have to see Jamal Khashoggi's killers brought to justice – not just those who actually did the murder, but those who ordered it and knew it was going to happen."

At a memorial service for the 60-year exile in London on Monday, head of an influential US Islamic think tank and longtime friend of Khashoggi, Nihad Awad, called on the mourners to petition in every city where Riyadh had a prison diplomatic mission.

"We are requesting that the roundabout in front of the Saudi embassy in Washington be named after Jamal Khashoggi," Awad is reported to have said.

"I want you to file a petition demanding that every street and every city where there is a Saudi embassy or mission be required to rename it.

"Imagine that your mail needs to be addressed to the Khashoggi Way? That her business cards contained such an address? "

So far, more than 1,800 people have added their names to the petition in Washington DC. The duo behind the petition comes from two Washington think tanks on the opposite side of the political spectrum, but is united in their outrage over the killing of Mr. Khashoggi.

When the petition receives 2,000 signatures, the couple plans to contact city council or mayor Muriel Bowser to ask for the name change.

The petition said that the renaming is a "daily reminder to Saudi officials that such behavior is completely unacceptable and expresses Washington's full support for press freedom."

Amnesty International said they also called for an independent UN investigation into the disappearance of Mr. Khashoggi, and warned the country's de facto leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, against dissidents and activists in the repressive kingdom.

"Since September 2017, when the authorities launched a wave of arrests of activists, writers and religious clerics, Amnesty has been able to investigate 20 arrests," the charity said in a statement.

The entrance to the consulate of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul, where Jamal Khashoggi was murdered (AP)

"Some of the detainees are now facing the notorious terrorism court in the country."

Prince Mohammed, who became Crown Prince in June of last year, led a series of social reforms, including allowing Saudi women to travel, but also persecuted opponents of the authoritarian regime in Saudi Arabia and internal enemies within the Saudi establishment.

He has also escalated Saudi Arabia's involvement in the bloody war in Yemen against rebels linked to Iran's largest rival, the Middle East.

Although the country in the region is an important ally of the West, a growing number of voices express its dissatisfaction with its leadership.

Even Donald Trump, who has resisted killing sanctions against Saudi Arabia because the nation is a big buyer of US arms companies, knew Prince Mohammed about the plan to kill journalists.

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More than 100 writers, journalists, artists and activists have reiterated Amnesty International's request to the United Nations to investigate the disappearance of Mr. Khashoggi. Among those who have named their open letter coordinated by PEN America are JK Rowling, Meryl Streep, Patrick Stewart, Watergate journalist Bob Woodward and writer Margaret Atwood.

If the authorities in London or Washington agree to rename the street addresses of the Saudi embassies, this would not be the first time that such a stunt has been withdrawn.

It is known that Iran changed the name of the street in front of the British embassy in Tehran on Bobby Sands Street after the IRA leader died in 1981 after a 66-day hunger strike.

Recently, the Washington Council has added street signs in front of the Russian Embassy, ​​calling this section of the street the Boris Nemtsov Plaza, in honor of the dissident who was murdered in 2015 in Moscow.

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