Washington DC could rename Saudi embassy street after Khashoggi
A member of the city council of Washington DC has introduced legislation to rename the street where the Saudi embassy to the US is located after murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
In a press release published on Thursday, Councilmember Brooke Pinto said that she would put forward “The Jamal Khashoggi Way Designation Act 2021” to honour Khashoggi’s life and work and remind the world of the dangers journalists face.
Khashoggi, who was a resident of the US and wrote for The Washington Post, was killed on 2 October 2018 in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. He had gone into the building to obtain divorce papers in order to marry his fiancee, who was waiting outside the building for him and later broke the news of his disappearance when he failed to return.
"Through his journalism, Jamal Khashoggi was a fierce advocate for democracy, human rights and the rule of law. This designation of ‘Jamal Khashoggi Way’ is located in front of the Saudi Embassy in Washington, DC,” Pinto said in her statement.
"Everyone who visits the Saudi embassy will be reminded of Mr. Khashoggi's courage."
Pinto linked the proposed renaming of the street to the 6 January assault on the US Capitol by supporters of outgoing US President Donald Trump.
“In light of the recent deadly riot on Capitol Hill, which included assaults on journalists… it is fitting that today we take this symbolic, but important action to acknowledge and honour three individuals who sacrificed so much to fight for our democracy and whose examples continue to inspire the kind of action this moment requires,” she said
Pinto’s proposed legislation will also see streets in Washington DC named after late US Congressman John Lewis and late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
"Jamal Khashoggi knew that by shining a light on Saudi Arabia and seeking truth, he risked his freedom and, indeed, his life. Journalists around the world and here in America face similar dangers every day, and we must never let those who seek to intimidate them succeed, because when journalism is under assault, our freedom and democracy are under assault”, Pinto added.
Activists in the US first called for the street where the Saudi embassy is located to be renamed after Khashoggi in 2019, starting a petition which gathered 10,000 signatures. However, the petition was rejected because local law said a person must be deceased for two years before any street could be named after them.
The killing was carried out by operatives of the Saudi government, of which Khashoggi was a critic. Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman has been accused of ordering the killing, but Riyadh has denied the charge and blames the murder on 'rogue' agents.