The ‘Jamal Khashoggi Way Designation Act,’ which passed unanimously on Tuesday, will serve as a reminder of the dangers faced by journalists across the world, noting that a free press is “fundamental to our democracy,” said D.C. councilmember Brooke Pinto in a statement.
“Jamal Khashoggi knew that by shining a light on Saudi Arabia and seeking truth, he risked his freedom and, indeed, his life,” Pinto continued. “This name change demonstrates the values of District residents of a free and independent press.”
The 600 block of New Hampshire Avenue in D.C. will be designated as Jamal Khashoggi Way in a public ceremony next month.
Khashoggi, a Saudi-born journalist and U.S. resident, was killed in Istanbul, Turkey, on Oct. 2, 2018, after visiting the Saudi consulate. Khashoggi, a vocal critic of Saudi policy, had been missing for 18 days before Saudi Arabian officials confirmed his death in a statement.
“Renaming the street in front of the Saudi embassy in honor of Khashoggi will be an important gesture in support of accountability for his brutal murder,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN).
Khashoggi founded the human rights organization nearly four months before he was killed.
A February U.S. intelligence report found that Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, had approved the operation that led to Khashoggi’s brutal death. The intelligence report prompted calls for penalties against the man next in line to the Saudi throne.
The crown prince has denied any role in Khashoggi’s death. Officials for the Saudi embassy in Washington did not respond to requests for comment about the D.C. council’s decision.
In her investigation, then-U.N. Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Agnes Callamard, found Saudi Arabia responsible for Khashoggi’s death.
Callamard called upon the international community to ensure accountability for the murder and to memorialize Khashoggi through symbolic measures, including events or awards in his honor.
French authorities arrested a man this week whom they suspected of involvement in Khashoggi’s death but later released him, saying they had mistaken him for someone else.