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Letter to President Donald Trump - Royce, Engel Press for Swift Action Following Disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi

Letter

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Dear Mr. President:

We are deeply concerned about the whereabouts of Jamal Khashoggi, a journalist, a Washington Post columnist and Saudi citizen who has been living in the United States. Based on mounting reports, it appears highly likely Mr. Khashoggi was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul while attending to a routine consular matter. These are serious and troubling allegations that, if proven true, will impact U.S.-Saudi relations.

As the world's beacon of freedom, America has an obligation and strong interest to uphold basic international standards and human rights. This includes freedom of expression and freedom of the press. We are encouraged you have pledged to "get to the bottom" of what happened to Mr. Khashoggi, and urge you to ensure this investigation is carried out thoroughly and expeditiously. All individuals responsible for this disappearance and likely murder must be identified and held accountable.

Our Senate colleagues have already requested a determination pursuant to the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act with respect to any foreign person responsible for human rights violations in this case. We support this request, and hope necessary determinations will be made promptly using findings of the administration's investigation.

We also are concerned about the potential misuse of diplomatic conventions and privileges the allegations purport to show and suggest the maintenance of established norms in this regard is important to U.S. national security and the free exercise of international diplomacy.

At the same time, additional steps should be taken to prevent the targeting of dissidents and journalists at foreign diplomatic facilities in the United States. We urge your administration to review Saudi nationals credentialed to diplomatic and consular posts in the United States and Saudi diplomatic and consular activities within the United States. There should be no chance that what apparently happened in Ankara could happen here.

Finally, we urge you to use all pressure necessary to encourage greater Saudi cooperation in the investigation into this incident. Unless the Saudi government fully discloses what it knows about this disappearance and likely murder, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin should cancel plans to attend the upcoming "Davos in the Desert." Participation in this conference is not critical to our economic security and would potentially undermine efforts to show the Saudi government and others around the world that brazen attacks on civilians inside consular facilities are unacceptable.

Mr. President, we value our relations with Saudi Arabia. Yet murder and other blatant violations of international norms and agreements cannot be done with impunity. We look forward to hearing from you about any investigation on this matter and potential consequences.

Sincerely,


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