RSF calls for boycott of Riyadh summit, freeze on business ties with Saudis

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls for a boycott of next week’s Future Investment Initiative summit in Riyadh and a freeze on all commercial ties with Saudi Arabia now that the Kingdom has recognized, after denying it for two weeks, that Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi died in its Istanbul consulate.

Participants in the summit should pull out, RSF said, adding that any resumption of business as We call on Saudi Arabia to end its violence against journalistsSign the petitionusual would be tantamount to giving Saudi Arabia a “licence to kill” journalists.

The boycott should be accompanied by a clear demand, namely that business cannot return to normal until the Kingdom gives a solemn undertaking to end practices worthy of a bygone age, which include detaining journalists on absurd grounds, sentencing them to flogging, abducting them, making them disappear and even killing them.

We call for a boycott of this event and, more broadly, a freeze on commercial ties with Saudi Arabia,” RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire said. “Business as usual and chatting about investments as if nothing had happened would be unthinkable when the latest official version is clearly designed to disguise what really took place, namely the shocking murder of a journalist at the state’s behest.”

Deloire added: “Any attempt to relax the pressure or any policy of compromise would be tantamount to issuing a ‘licence to kill’ to all despotic regimes, starting with the regime in Riyadh.”

RSF reiterates its request to United Nations secretary-general Antonio Guterres to launch an international investigation into the Khashoggi affair. On 18 October, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the Committee to Protect journalists and RSF all said that such an investigation is essential in order to gather evidence and establish who was responsible. 

Saudi Arabia is ranked 169th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2018 World Press Freedom Index.

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Updated on 27.01.2020