Updated: February 28, 2021
By John Donnelly
National Press Club leaders expressed profound concern Saturday about the continued disappearance of a Saudi journalist and especially about reports he may have been killed by Saudi government personnel.
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Jamal Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post and a former editor-in-chief of the Saudi newspaper Al-Watan, visited the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 3 and never emerged.
On Saturday came reports that Turkish officials have concluded Saudi officials killed Khashoggi in the consulate.
“If Khashoggi is alive and in detention, we call for his immediate release,” said Club President Andrea Edney. “If harm has come to him, those responsible must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. We are closely watching developments in this case and we will not abide killing journalists.”
Khashoggi has been in self-imposed exile in the United States since 2017. He has been outspoken in his criticism of the Saudi government.
Khashoggi fled Saudi Arabia citing Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s crackdown on even mildly critical journalists. The Committee to Protect Journalists has documented growing censorship in Saudi Arabia and numerous cases of Saudi reporters being seized by authorities, including one man who was taken away as he visited his five-year-old son in the hospital.
Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 3 to process paperwork for his coming marriage. His fiancee waited outside for hours, but Khashoggi never came out.
Since then, Saudi authorities have denied knowing his whereabouts.
Founded in 1908, the National Press Club is the world’s leading professional organization for journalists. It has more than 3,100 members worldwide. The Club supports press freedom through its nonprofit National Press Club Journalism Institute.
Contact: National Press Club Press Freedom Chairman John M. Donnelly, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202 650 6738