‘Courageous journalist’ who likened Saudi prince to Putin

0
0


Turkish authorities claim prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed inside the country’s consulate in Istanbul.

An official told the Reuters news agency that Mr Khashoggi was killed in a premeditated murder and his body removed from the consulate.

So what do we know about the journalist?

Perhaps the main thing to be aware of is that he has described Prince Mohammed as a “brash and abrasive young innovator” – and even said he is “acting like Putin”.

He has also criticised what he sees as the prince’s “You-must-accept-my-reform” extremism, without any consultation”.

During his career, Mr Khashoggi has interviewed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden several times in Afghanistan and Sudan.

He has gained a wide following with his appearances on Arab satellite television networks.

Recently, his articles have appeared in The Washington Post.

“Jamal was – or, as we hope, is – a committed, courageous journalist,” the newspaper’s editorial page editor Fred Hiatt said in a statement.

“He writes out of a sense of love for his country and deep faith in human dignity and freedom.”

Saudi consulate in Istanbul  ‘Courageous journalist’ who likened Saudi prince to Putin skynews jamal khashoggi saudi consulate 4446257
Image:
Jamal Khashoggi is said to have been murdered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul

Mr Khashoggi, who will be 60 on 13 October, was born in the western Saudi city of Medina, which is revered in Islam as the burial place of the Prophet Muhammad.

He began his career with Saudi daily newspapers in the 1980s, covering the Soviet-Afghan war.

Later, in 2003, he was forced to resign as editor-in-chief of the Saudi daily al Watan, after the authorities decided he had become too progressive.

Nevertheless, he retained ties to the Saudi establishment, holding advisory positions in Riyadh and Washington.

He is also said to have maintained a link with Prince Turki al-Faisal, who ran Saudi Arabia’s intelligence agency for more than 20 years.

He fled Saudi Arabia for Washington in September 2017, months after Prince Mohammed was appointed heir to the throne.

Dozens of dissidents were arrested, including intellectuals and Islamic preachers.

“I have left my home, my family and my job, and I am raising my voice,” Mr Khashoggi wrote last September.

“To do otherwise would betray those who languish in prison. I can speak when so many cannot.”

Two months later, he wrote that Prince Mohammed was dispensing “selective justice” and claimed there was “complete intolerance for even mild criticism” of the crown prince.

In an article published in The Washington Post last year, Mr Khashoggi said a new era of “fear, intimidation, arrests and public shaming” had dawned in Saudi Arabia.

On 5 November he wrote in the newspaper: “As of now, I would say Mohammed bin Salman is acting like Putin. He is imposing very selective justice.

“The crackdown on even the most constructive criticism – the demand for complete loyalty with a significant ‘or else’ – remains a serious challenge to the crown prince’s desire to be seen as a modern, enlightened leader.”

Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi   ‘Courageous journalist’ who likened Saudi prince to Putin skynews jamal khashoggi saudi journalist 4446084
Image:
Jamal Khashoggi fled Saudi Arabia in 2017

In March of this year, he co-authored an article in The Guardian with Robert Lacey.

The pair wrote: “For his domestic reform programme, the crown prince deserves praise.

“But at the same time, the brash and abrasive young innovator has not encouraged or permitted any popular debate in Saudi Arabia about the nature of his many changes.

“He appears to be moving the country from old-time religious extremism to his own ‘You-must-accept-my-reform’ extremism, without any consultation – accompanied by arrests and the disappearance of his critics.”

Mr Khashoggi said he had been banned from writing from the pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat, owned by Saudi Arabia’s Prince Khaled bin Sultan al-Saud. It was said to be over his defence of the Muslim Brotherhood, which Riyadh considers to be a terrorist organisation.

He also said Saudi authorities had banned him from using his Twitter account after he said the country ought to be “rightfully nervous about a Trump presidency”.

Crown Prince Mohammed is a controversial figure who has received support from Donald Trump.

In addition, Mr Khashoggi has criticised Saudi Arabia’s role in Yemen, where Riyadh is supporting the government in its war with rebels backed by Iran.

And he opposes a Saudi-led boycott of Qatar, which has found itself isolated over allegedly close ties to extremist groups and Iran.



Source link

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.