By Sharon Gomez
The Saudi Arabian government has officially announced that veteran journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. This statement comes on October 19, after more than two weeks of consistent denials that Khashoggi was harmed.
Information on the cause of death have been conflicting, with some alleging a quick strangulation while others a “planned” and “brutal” murder by a team of Saudi agents. Unconfirmed reports say the cut-up remains of Khashoggi were found in the garden of the Saudi consul general’s home in Istanbul on October 23. His face was said to have been disfigured.
Khashoggi, a prominent Saudi dissident, entered the consulate on October 2 to obtain documents in order to marry his Turkish fiancée Hatice Cengiz. Cengiz spent 11 hours waiting for him outside the consulate, but he never re-emerged. Turkey has put her under 24-hour police protection amid growing concerns for her safety.
President Erdogan of Turkey called the “savage” killing a “political murder” and, in doing so, challenges the official Saudi account of the matter that occurred in his country. He also stated that he would call King Salman of Saudi Arabia and ask that the case be tried in Istanbul rather than in Saudi Arabia.
Unfortunately, stories like Khashoggi’s are not unheard of. To exemplify this, 1324 journalists were killed between 1992 and 2018. Of these, 849 journalists were murdered (this excludes death during combat or while on dangerous assignment). The highest figure was in 2009, with 76 killed. The lowest that this figure has been in the given time frame was in 2002, with 21 journalists having been killed that year. So far in 2018, 45 journalists, including Khashoggi, have been killed. Afghanistan, Mexico, Iraq, Syria, and the Philippines were the five most dangerous countries for journalists in 2017, according to data compiled by Cardiff’s School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies.