Jamal Khashoggi: Saudi embassy street in US renamed after murdered journalist

By Raffi Berg
BBC News

  • Published
Activists give v-signs in front of the street sign for Jamal Khashoggi Way in Washington DC (15/06/22)Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
One campaigner said the street sign would be a constant reminder to those who worked in the embassy

A street in front of the Saudi embassy in Washington DC has been renamed after Jamal Khashoggi, whose murder by Saudi agents caused shock around the world.

The local government in the US capital said it had changed the name to Jamal Khashoggi Way to ensure the dissident's memory "cannot be covered up".

US intelligence concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved the killing. He denied this.

Next month, he will hold his first talks with US President Joe Biden.

Human rights activists, members of the US Congress and local councillors gathered outside the embassy on New Hampshire Avenue for the street sign unveiling.

"We intend to remind the people who are hiding behind those doors, we intend to remind them every day, every hour, every minute, that this is Jamal Khashoggi Way," said Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of Democracy for the Arab World Now (Dawn).

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Dawn is a human rights group that was founded by Khashoggi, a dissident Saudi journalist who lived in the US and was a columnist for the Washington Post.

He was murdered by Saudi agents inside the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, in 2018 after being lured there.

A report by US intelligence agencies incriminated the Crown Prince Mohammed, Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler. The prince denied playing any role and Saudi prosecutors blamed "rogue" agents.

The incident caused widespread revulsion, causing the crown prince to be given the cold shoulder by the international community.

When he was contesting the Democratic nomination for the presidential election in 2019, Joe Biden pledged to "make [Saudi Arabia] pay the price, and make them in fact the pariah that they are" for Khashoggi's murder.

But on Tuesday the White House announced that Mr Biden would hold face-to-face talks with Crown Prince Mohammed when he visited Saudi Arabia during a Middle East tour in July.

A senior Biden administration official said human rights would be on the agenda, though activists warned that the meeting could rehabilitate the crown prince without guaranteeing improvements in the conservative Gulf kingdom.

Jamal Khashoggi Way is not the first street in front of an embassy in Washington DC to be renamed after a dissident.