DC trolls the Saudi Embassy by calling the street Jamal Khashoggi Way

WASHINGTON – A month in advance Trip of President Joe Biden to Saudi Arabiathe District of Columbia is renaming the street in front of the Saudi embassy Jamal Khashoggi Way and trolling Riyadh for its role in the 2018 assassination of the dissident Saudi activist and journalist.

A Jamal Khashoggi Way sign was unveiled just outside the embassy’s main entrance in the presence of members of the DC Council.

“We intend to remind the people hiding behind these doors… that we hold them responsible and will hold them accountable for the murder of our friend,” Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of DAWN, told the pro-Arab world Democracy organization founded by Khashoggi before his death.

Whitson also criticized what she called the “shameless capitulation” of the Biden government for seeking improved relations with the Saudi government and planning an official presidential visit to the kingdom.


Khashoggi, a prominent Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist, entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018 to obtain the necessary paperwork for a proposed marriage to his fiancée, who was waiting for him outside. The 59-year-old never showed up.

The Saudi government initially denied any wrongdoing. But amid mounting international pressure, Riyadh eventually admitted that Khashoggi had been killed in the consulate, in what the Saudis described as a failed repatriation effort. The CIA later released a report concluded that Khashoggi was killed and dismembered on the orders of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.

The Saudi regime has consistently denied this connection. Several lower-level Saudi officials and agents were sentenced to prison terms for the murder.

The DC Council voted unanimously late last year to rename a one-block route to Khashoggi. The renaming is ceremonial, as indicated by the brown street sign instead of the usual green, and does not affect the embassy’s mailing address. But the mark will remain indefinitely. An email to the Saudi embassy asking for comment went unanswered.


Khashoggi’s Turkish fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, was unable to attend the ceremony but a statement from her was read out.

In it, she slammed the Biden administration for “putting oil over principle and expediency over principle.”

Cengiz also asked Biden directly when he met with the crown prince: “Could you at least ask, ‘Where’s Jamal’s body?'”

Karine Jean Pierre, the White House press secretary, declined to say whether Biden would raise the issue of Khashoggi’s murder when he meets with Bin Salman next month.

“The President is a straight shooter. He’s not afraid to talk about that,” she said. But she didn’t confirm if the murder would be a topic of conversation.

The DC government has a history of taking such public steps to troll or shame foreign governments. In February 2018, the street in front of the Russian embassy was Boris Nemtsov Plaza after a Russian activist was shot dead on a bridge near the Kremlin in 2015.


At the former site of the Russian embassy, ​​a street has been renamed after longtime Russian dissident Andrei Sakharov.

Wednesday’s street renaming was essentially a formalization of an independent, activist-led campaign that had been underway for years. Shortly after Khashoggi’s death, local activist Claude Taylor began placement realistic looking street signs by Jamal Khashoggi throughout the city, including outside the embassy. Taylor said he had as many as 10 signs in different locations at one point, including one near Dupont Circle that stood for two years before it was destroyed.

“It’s just a form of public protest with a performance art aspect,” Taylor said.

Though he noted with a laugh that he wasn’t invited to Wednesday’s ceremony, Taylor said, “I’m glad the city did the right thing, and I’m glad he’s recognized in this way.”



Associated Press writer Chris Megerian contributed to this report.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission.

https://www.local10.com/news/politics/2022/06/15/dc-trolls-saudi-embassy-by-naming-street-jamal-khashoggi-way/ DC trolls the Saudi Embassy by calling the street Jamal Khashoggi Way

Sarah Y. Kim

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