By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal
LONDON (AA) – A group of journalists called on the Saudi government Thursday to reveal the truth behind the brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Gathering for a vigil in front of the Saudi embassy in central London, members of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) lit candles to remember their slain colleague.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said they demand justice for Khashoggi and an answer to what genuinely happened to him.
“What is clear is that he was brutally murdered for doing his job as a journalist,” Stanistreet said.
She underlined that tonight is the eve of the UN’s International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists and said it is a campaign the NUJ is passionate about.
“Journalists around the world are being murdered every week for doing their job, and it is time that the world woke up to these dangers and held to account — whether it is governments or individuals or criminal forces — the people responsible for targeting and assassination of journalists.”
Stanistreet said all governments should take seriously what happened to Khashoggi.
“We do not want any state, whether it is the UK government or elsewhere, to be hoodwinked by the Saudi government into believing their pack of lies that they have come up with to date about what had actually happened.
“We do not want a business-as-usual approach where this is overlooked,” she said, adding that everyone who is responsible for the killing, to the highest level, should be held to account.
Saudi Arabia has neither explained its shifting narrative on Khashoggi's disappearance nor has it produced his body after several reports said he was dismembered in its Istanbul consulate.
On Wednesday, the Istanbul Prosecutor's Office said Khashoggi was strangled to death "in a premeditated way" shortly after he entered the consulate to obtain documents for his pending marriage to his fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, adding that his body was disposed of after being dismembered.
Also present at the vigil was Jim Corn, a human rights activist.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Corn said he supported the NUJ during the vigil as a person who is campaigning against war.
"I am also concerned about the state terrorism that Saudi Arabia indulged in in Yemen and Bahrain," he said.
Corn said he was also “very concerned about the support they [Saudis] are giving to the terrorist state of Israel, who are murdering Palestinians on a daily basis, and I believe that the Saudis are in full support of that”.
He said he was glad that international attention has now focused on this problem because the murder of Khashoggi in Turkey is only “the tip of the iceberg”.
Corn underlined that Khashoggi’s murder had turned the focus on the “undemocratic state of Saudi Arabia”.
The vigil also saw the attendance of members of the Trade Union Congress, an umbrella organization bringing together more than 5.5 million working people.
Khashoggi, a Saudi national and columnist for The Washington Post, was killed on Oct. 2 inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
After weeks of denying involvement, the Kingdom admitted he had been killed at the consulate and that it was premeditated.