RSF joins statement reiterating calls for US government to insist on accountability for Khashoggi murder

first_imgNonetheless, the Trump administration has persisted in actions that can only be described as covering for the crimes of Saudi authorities. On October 10, 2018, a bipartisan group of 22 Senators, including the then-chairman and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC), triggered Section 1263(d) of the Global Magnitsky Act, which directed the President to report, by February 8, 2019, to that committee on those individuals—including the crown prince—that the U.S. government believes had a role in Mr. Khashoggi’s murder. We applaud Chairman Engel’s decision, in his role at the time as House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) ranking member, to reinforce this determination requirement via a letter dated October 12, 2018, co-signed with then-HFAC Chairman Ed Royce. WhatsApp blocks accounts of at least seven Gaza Strip journalists We, the undersigned organizations dedicated to the promotion and protection of universal human rights, write to commend you for your statements concerning the murder of Saudi journalist, Washington Post columnist, and Virginia resident Jamal Khashoggi, and to request that you continue to pursue accountability for this abhorrent crime as part of a larger re-assessment of the U.S.-Saudi relationship. On February 8, a senior administration official announced that President Trump refused to comply with the congressional mandate required by both the HFAC and SFRC. On the same day, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a letter declining to address the determination requirement or offering any additional information concerning Mr. Khashoggi’s murder. These actions followed a written statement issued by President Trump in November 2018 in which the president pointedly equated Mohammed bin Salman’s denial of involvement in Mr. Khashoggi’s killing with the considered views of the U.S. intelligence community. Specifically, we urge that you demand that the Trump administration provide appropriate members of Congress with the determination of responsibility for Mr. Khashoggi’s murder required under Section 1263(d) of the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act of 2016, as well as relevant information documenting how the administration came to its determination. Given the administration’s demonstrated unwillingness to provide members of Congress with the determination required by the Global Magnitsky Act, or to supply information relevant to its decision-making in this matter, we further recommend that you consider holding hearings and/or issuing subpoenas to compel this information, in keeping with Congress’ constitutional oversight role. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) sent a joint letter on March 14 with 10 other press freedom and human rights organizations to the ranking members of the House of Representatives’ Foreign Affairs Committee, asking them to ensure to continue to pursue accountability for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. March 14, 2019 Follow the news on Americas Related documents 19.03.14_jk-hfac-letter.pdfPDF – 283.79 KB Further, the administration’s refusal to respect Congress’ constitutionally-mandated role in overseeing foreign policy threatens both U.S. democracy and national security. One branch of government trying to obscure the truth from another on an issue of this magnitude subverts the will of American voters who elect members of Congress to be partners with—not subordinate to—the executive in the conduct of foreign policy. The administration’s position also sows doubt among America’s allies concerning its resolve to uphold universal human rights, while emboldening human rights violators like Iran eager to point to perceived hypocrisy. June 7, 2021 Find out more As you know, on October 2, 2018, a team of Saudi Arabian hit men are credibly alleged to have murdered Mr. Khashoggi after luring him into Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. On December 4, 2018, following a classified briefing by CIA Director Gina Haspel, multiple Senators indicated publicly that the CIA’s findings constituted overwhelming evidence of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s (MBS) central role in Khashoggi’s murder, and on December 13, 2018, the Senate unanimously passed a non-binding resolution finding MBS “complicit” in Khashoggi’s murder on the basis of “evidence and analysis made available to this institution.” Separately, the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions stated, in early February 2019, that evidence collected during her trip to Turkey “demonstrates a prime facie case that Mr. Khashoggi was the victim of a brutal and premeditated killing, planned and perpetrated by officials of the State of Saudi Arabia.” to go further Mr. Khashoggi’s premeditated killing violated many acceptable norms of human and state behavior. The murder’s authors clearly intended their crime to send a chilling message to Saudis at home and abroad: that those who peacefully criticize the government’s autocratic rule will never be safe, no matter where they flee. Saudi leaders apparently acted under the belief that they could issue this message without repercussion. For Mr. Khashoggi’s sake, and for the sake of human rights defenders the world over, Congress cannot allow this misguided belief to stand. Because the Trump administration will not defend the rights of the persecuted to speak without fear of assassination, Congress must. United StatesSaudi ArabiaAmericasMiddle East – North Africa International bodies News June 3, 2021 Find out more Help by sharing this information Yasin AKGUL / AFP RSF_en United StatesSaudi ArabiaAmericasMiddle East – North Africa International bodies Reports President Trump’s refusal to comply with the Global Magnitsky Act has rightfully garnered criticism from Democratic and Republican members of Congress in both the House and Senate. Among other reactions, we welcome Ranking Member McCaul’s statement of February 9, in which he said that he was: In defending its refusal to comply with extant law and/or provide information related to Mr. Khashoggi’s murder, the administration has claimed that it is acting consistent with the constitutional separation of powers. Yet, as a trio of former U.S. Justice Department attorneys recently wrote, a president cannot elect to simply decline to accommodate congressional oversight. While legal scholars may differ on the administration’s constitutional obligations under the Global Magnitsky Act’s Section 1263(d), the point remains that in rejecting appropriate congressional oversight in the Khashoggi case, the Trump administration is itself threatening the separation of powers and contesting the role of congressional mandates more broadly. Allowing the administration to simply sweep this matter under the rug, as Saudi officials would prefer, therefore poses a challenge not only to the administration of justice, but to fundamental congressional prerogatives. News “[D]eeply troubled by the letter I received from the Administration regarding the brutal murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. The letter does not meet the requirements of the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act… Everyone involved in this gruesome crime must be identified and held accountable. When the United States fails to lead, we compromise our integrity and abandon those pursuing justice around the world.” We respectfully thank you for your consideration of this important matter. News Dear Chairman Engel and Ranking Member McCaul, Organisation 2011-2020: A study of journalist murders in Latin America confirms the importance of strengthening protection policies Receive email alerts March 14, 2019 RSF joins statement reiterating calls for US government to insist on accountability for Khashoggi murder Signed, Facebook’s Oversight Board is just a stopgap, regulation urgently needed, RSF says Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in BahrainCommittee to Protect JournalistsFreedom HouseHuman Rights FirstHuman Rights WatchJacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human RightsOpen Society Justice InitiativePEN AmericaProject on Middle East DemocracyReporters Without BordersRobert F. Kennedy Human Rights May 13, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more

Belarus authorities slated as file on missing cameraman Dmitri Zavadski is closed for a third time

first_imgNews RSF_en May 28, 2021 Find out more “We welcome opening of criminal investigation in Lithuania in response to our complaint against Lukashenko” RSF says BelarusEurope – Central Asia News News US President George W. Bush met the cameraman’s wife, Svetlana Zavadskaya on 27 February 2006 and expressed his personal support for her quest for justice and her determination, along with others in Belarus, to fight for a return of freedom in the country.——8 July 2005Police hit disappeared cameraman’s wife at demonstrationSvetlana Zavadskaya, the wife of disappeared TV cameraman Dmitri Zavadski, was hit in the face by a member of the interior ministry special forces during a demonstration in his memory yesterday in October Square in Minsk, and the photo of her husband she was waving was thrown to the ground.Zavadskaya, who sustained a bruise to the temple, said she would file a complaint. “Everything that has happened in the past few years and the way the authorities have handled this problem show that people at highest government level participated in his disappearance,” she said. This was the first time the authorities have dispersed a demonstration in her husband’s memory.Anatoli Lebedko, the head of the liberal United Citizen Party and a possible candidate in next year’s presidential election, was one of the approximately 30 people who took part in the demonstration. “We condemn the brutality against Svetlana Zavadskaya and we recall that the Council of Europe’s special rapporteur, Christos Pourgourides, has spoken of very serious suspicions about the implication of the authorities in this journalist’s disappearance and their desire to cover up the truth,” Lebedko told Reporters Without Borders.A cameraman working for the Russian broadcaster ORT, Dmitri Zavadski disappeared on 7 July 2000 at Minsk international airport, where his car was found. Reporters Without Borders today deplored the “silence and inaction” of the Belarus authorities in solving the disappearance of Belarusian TV cameraman Dmitri Zavadski and called for foreign experts to be allowed to join the investigation, which resumed on 4 April, a year after the case file was closed. Zavadski, once President Alexander Lukashenko’s personal cameraman, vanished on 7 July 2000 at Minsk airport, where he had gone to meet a colleague. His body was never found. He had resigned from the government TV station in 1996 to join the Russian station ORT and was later briefly imprisoned for his reporting.The worldwide press freedom organisation, along with the Belarus Association of Journalists (BAJ), noted that Christos Pourgourides, the Council of Europe’s special rapporteur on missing people in Belarus, had voiced strong suspicions that the regime was involved in the disappearance and trying to cover up what happened. The two groups said Zavadski’s family had a right to know exactly what had been done to find him over the past five years.The case has twice been closed by the authorities, first on 27 February 2003, before being reopened on 10 December that year, officially because of “a need to continue the investigation,” and then on 31 March 2004. An official of the public prosecutor’s office, Ivan Branchel, announced on 7 April this year it had resumed again three days earlier.”This latest decision is clearly a bid to head off international criticism of how the case has been handled,” Zavadsky’s wife Svetlana told Reporters Without Borders. “It was announced not long before the UN Human Rights Commission condemned rights violations in Belarus.” May 27, 2021 Find out more – – – – – The family has never properly been involved in the case by the authorities or been told how the investigation is going, and still does not know if two members of the interior ministry’s special police force given life sentences in 2002 for kidnapping and presumably murdering Zavadski pleaded guilty and said what happened to him and where his body is. The family also does not know if the accomplices named at their trial gave any such information to investigators either. “I’m now waiting for the investigators to tell me what they’re planning to do this time,” Zavadski’s mother Olga told Reporters Without Borders.The supreme court sentenced the former head of the interior ministry’s special police force, Valery Ignatovich, and one of his subordinates, Maxim Malik, on 16 July 2002 for presumably killing Zavadski and five other people in 2000. Regime’s failure to solve case of missing cameraman condemned on fifth anniversary of disappearance 7 July 2005Read in russian The authorities claimed Ignatovich decided to kill Zavadski because he felt targeted by an interview the journalist gave the daily Belorusskaya Delovaya Gazeta in 2000 saying he had met Belarusians fighting with independence fighters in Chechnya. The trial did not establish details of the kidnapping or who ordered it.Pourgourides said in a 27 January 2004 report that three top officials were suspected in the disappearance of Zavadski and three other people and charged that action had been taken at the highest government level to deliberately conceal what happened.The Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly urged the Belarus government on 28 April to open an independent enquiry into the disappearances and to sack Viktor Sheyman, the prosecutor-general and former head of national security, who it accused of organising them. The Assembly’s resolution (1371) also called for Sheyman and the then interior minister, Yuri Sivakov, and Dmitri Pavlichenko, head of a special police unit, to be placed under legal investigation. It also urged an enquiry into the involvement of several top officials in obstructing justice so as to protect those who planned the crimes. Reporters Without Borders and the Belarusian Association of Journalist call for a thorough investigation of the part played by top government leaders in the disappearance and presumed murder of TV cameraman Dmitri Zavadski (photo), who vanished in Minsk on 7 July 2000 and whose body has never been found.Read in russian June 2, 2021 Find out more Receive email alerts Follow the news on Belarus Reporters Without Borders expressed its shock that the file into the 7 July 2000 disappearance of cameraman Dmitri Zavadski has been closed for a third time and accused the Belarus authorities of incompetence. The file was last reopened in April 2005.The victim’s mother Olga Zavadskaya received a letter dated 3 May 2006 from the office of the prosecutor-general explaining that the case had again been closed on 31 March because the body of her son had never been recovered. An article in the Belarus criminal code does allow an investigation to be closed because of a “failure to find a missing person”.Reporters Without Borders has for several years been urging the authorities to open an independent investigation, but instead they have chosen to bury it yet again.Two people were jailed for life for kidnapping Zavadski in March 2002, during a trial condemned as a “farce” by the victim’s family. The trial failed to determine the exact circumstances of the kidnapping of the journalist or to identify the instigators. to go further May 5, 2006 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Belarus authorities slated as file on missing cameraman Dmitri Zavadski is closed for a third time Russian media boss drops the pretence and defends Belarus crackdown RSF at the Belarusian border: “The terrorist is the one who jails journalists and intimidates the public” Help by sharing this information Organisation News BelarusEurope – Central Asia last_img read more