More than 100 artists, journalists and writers — including Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Margaret Atwood, Mary Karr, Jhumpa Lahiri, Zadie Smith and Bob Woodard — joined members of PEN America and the Authors Guild today to call for an independent investigation into the death of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi.
In an open letter addressed to António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, the group expressed “grave concern about the apparent horrific murder” of Khashoggi, who disappeared on Oct. 2 upon entering the Saudi Arabian consulate, where he was, according to Turkish authorities, strangled, dismembered and possibly dissolved in acid.
The letter chronicles the timeline of Khashoggi’s death, noting that many details emerging about fault and intention remain unclear.
“The violent murder of a prominent journalist and commentator on foreign soil is a grave violation of human rights and a disturbing escalation of the crackdown on dissent in Saudi Arabia, whose government in recent years has jailed numerous writers, journalists, human rights advocates, and lawyers in a sweeping assault on free expression and association.”
Coinciding with the UN’s “International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists” — a date established to commemorate journalists killed while performing their work — the letter continues, “as writers and journalists ourselves, we fear the potential chilling effect of this trend, at a moment when the work of all those who would speak and expose the truth has never been more important.”
Read the full letter here.
Top Image: Courtesy of PEN America.