Khashoggi: will the murder go unpunished?
A year after the gruesome murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Crown Prince Bin Salman has assumed responsibility for the crime in an interview. He rejected accusations that he commissioned the murder, however. Commentators take stock of the reactions from the international community.
No grave and no justice
De Telegraaf denounces the feeble reaction to the murder:
“The CIA, the American secret service, reported last year, brimming with conviction, that Bin Salman was behind the murder. And the UN envoy Agnes Callamard declared that the crown prince could not be allowed to simply get away with this political liquidation. Yet nothing has been done to actually confront the authorities in the oil state. ... The international community prefers to look the other way and safeguard its own interests. A year after the murder not only is there still no decent grave, but also no justice.”
Palpable consequences needed
The international community must take tougher action against Saudi Arabia, the Süddeusche Zeitung chimes in:
“Arab civil society is crying out for help. It must be supported. It's no longer enough to say a few words of criticism and then go back to business as usual every time opposition members, activists and journalists are arrested. Human rights violations must be punished and the political and economic consequences must be palpable. ... The ease with which Saudi Arabia ignores basic human rights has an immediate impact on those in the region who risk their lives criticising the authorities. They hear a cynical message: Thank you for your courage, but unfortunately we can't help you.”
Germany's exemplary arms embargo
Khashoggi's murder has led to a rethinking in the area of arms exports above all thanks to the government in Berlin, the Financial Times comments approvingly:
“Europe’s defence industry is counting the cost of a German arms embargo to Saudi, introduced shortly after Mr Khashoggi’s death, and which remains in place for now. Other governments limited their response to public condemnation, but the German experience is salutary. The ethics of arms exports is no longer the preserve of lobby groups. There is a broader public groundswell of opposition. Governments can no longer expect to sell arms with impunity using economic interest as a justification.”
Hardly a holiday paradise
Shortly before the first anniversary of Khashoggi's murder the Saudi government announced it wanted to open up the country to foreign tourists. It can hardly expect an onrush of holidaymakers, the Irish Examiner writes scornfully:
“The distribution of bibles is illegal, as is adultery, apostasy, participation in public demonstrations, the sale of alcohol or pork, criticism of the kingdom's atrociously poor record in the women's rights, fair trials, and freedom departments, and, in the words of the travel advisory issued by our department of foreign affairs, 'homosexual behaviour'. Beheading, hanging, stoning, amputation, crucifixion, and lashing are the punishments for serious crimes. The department advises a 'high degree of caution'. Wish you were there?”