Dear participants and sponsors of the ‘Future Investment Initiative’ in Saudi Arabia:
After two weeks of lying to the world and even threatening the United States, it has become clear that the Saudi government, under the direction of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, killed Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist for The Washington Post and U.S. resident. Based on recent news reports, it appears that Saudi Arabia may aim to absolve the crown prince of responsibility by claiming that Mr. Khashoggi was accidentally killed in an interrogation “gone wrong” carried out by “rogue elements.” But make no mistake: the Saudi leadership, up to and including Mohammed bin Salman, almost certainly ordered the operation against Mr. Khashoggi. Moreover, any claim that the Saudi government did not intend to murder Mr. Khashoggi seems dubious, given what is known about the team that was dispatched to Istanbul to carry out the operation. Even if Khashoggi’s death was an accident, however, the kidnapping of a legal resident of the United States in a diplomatic mission in a third country is beyond the pale. You had indicated that you would [attend/sponsor] Saudi Arabia’s Future Investment Initiative, hosted by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. By supporting this conference, which is so closely associated with the crown prince and his regime, you not only lend the Saudi government – which just murdered a U.S. resident – legitimacy, but also risk hurting your brand. Consumers and investors now shop with a conscience and your association with the brutal and thuggish tactics of the Saudi government could damage your business interests.
Therefore, we urge you to take the following immediate actions:
- End your sponsorship and/or participation in Saudi Arabia’s ‘Future Investment Initiative’ conference, if you have not already, following the lead of The New York Times, Uber, The World Bank, and JP Morgan Chase.
- Publicly call on the Saudi government to hold all those responsible for this horrific murder accountable.
- Take a stand against the Saudi government’s brutal bombardment of thousands of civilians in Yemen.
- Cease future investment with the Saudi government until they release all other political prisoners currently held inside the Kingdom.
Jamal Khashoggi’s killing is only the latest in a long line of human rights abuses by the Saudi government. Since ascending to power, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s image as a “reformer” has granted him cover to imprison, torture, and even execute numerous women’s rights activists, religious leaders, and political dissidents. Meanwhile, our country has continued to support and perpetuate Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen, the world’s largest humanitarian crisis, with millions on the brink of starvation. This cannot continue.
We urge you to join the chorus of voices calling upon accountability for the Saudi government and justice for Jamal.
About Face: Veterans Against the War
Action Corps NYC
Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB)
Americans for Democratic Action (ADA)
Beyond the Bomb
Center for International Policy
Center for Peace Education
Demand Progress Education Fund
Foreign Policy for America
Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR)
In Defense of Christians
Institute for Policy Studies, New Internationalism Project
Jewish Voice for Peace
Just Foreign Policy
Pax Christi Australia
Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED)
Rachel Carson Council
STAND: The Student-Led Movement to End Mass Atrocities
Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy
The Yemen Peace Project
U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR)
United For Peace and Justice
Win Without War
Women’s Action for New Directions
World BEYOND War
Photo: Shealah Craighead/White House