Credo Action

Hold the Saudi government accountable. Drop support for the FII conference.

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Tell sponsors, speakers and advisors:

"Drop your support for ‘Davos in the Desert’ and hold the Saudi government accountable for its role in the likely murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.”

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    Hold the Saudi government accountable. Drop support for the FII conference.

    On Oct. 2, journalist Jamal Khashoggi went into the Saudi consulate in Turkey and never returned.

    He was likely murdered by Saudi assassins under orders from the highest levels of Saudi royalty.1 Even though Khashoggi was living in voluntary exile in the United States, Donald Trump refuses to hold the Saudi government responsible. But dozens of business leaders are demanding accountability by cancelling their attendance at the Future Investment Initiative (FII) conference next week in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.2 The conference is a pet project of Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), whose plan for Saudi economic growth relies heavily on the investors who were set to attend.3

    Despite the loss of attendees and major media sponsors including The New York Times, CNN and CNBC, the conference is still scheduled for Oct. 23–25.4 Companies that are willing to continue their support as advisers, sponsors or attendees are directly investing in a brutal regime. We need a massive public outcry to demand they denounce Saudi human rights abuses.

    Tell sponsors, speakers and advisors of the FII conference to drop all support for the event.

    In September, Khashoggi wrote a piece for The Washington Post that was extremely critical of MBS and his record of human rights abuses.5 On Oct. 2, Khashoggi had an appointment at the Saudi consulate in Turkey to take care of paperwork ahead of his planned wedding in Turkey. His fiancée waited outside for hours, but he never came out.6

    The Saudi government at first insisted that Khashoggi left the consulate safely. In the last few days, it changed its story and claimed that he died during a botched interrogation.7 But Turkey gathered evidence that Khashoggi was likely brutally murdered.8 U.S. intelligence intercepts show that MBS himself authorized the assassination.9

    Saudi Arabia is responsible for the war in Yemen – the world's worst humanitarian crisis.10 Instead of opposing Saudi human rights abuses – including the detention of at least 60 human rights defenders and critics of the Saudi government – the Trump regime is enabling authoritarian MBS to act with impunity.11,12 Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Saudi royalty on Tuesday in Riyadh, just a day after Trump spoke to King Salman and told the media that "rogue" agents might be to blame for Khashoggi's death.13 Secretary of Treasury Steve Mnuchin is still set to attend the FII conference next week in the face of all the evidence that the Saudis are responsible for Khashoggi's death.14

    Saudi Arabia is strongly dependent on international financiers. The cancellation of the FII conference would be nearly as disturbing to MBS and his repressive regime as the consequences Trump refuses to impose.15 Trump and his cronies may want to let MBS off the hook, but public outrage can force at least one mechanism of accountability. Already dozens of big companies and speakers have cancelled their support, and massive grassroots pressure on the remaining sponsors could spell the end of the conference altogether.

    Tell sponsors, speakers and advisors of the FII conference to drop all support for the event.

    Thank you for standing up for peace.

    References:

    1. Kate Kizer, "Trump has emboldened MBS to act with impunity," The Hill, Oct. 15, 2018.
    2. Jeanne Whalen, "Finance CEOs pull out of Saudi ‘Davos in the Desert’ over Khashoggi, risking lucrative role in kingdom’s economic reforms," The Washington Post, Oct. 15, 2018.
    3. Jeanne Whalen and Justin Moyer, "Western walkout of Saudi ‘Davos in the Desert’ conference over Jamal Khashoggi undermines kingdom’s modernization plans," The Washington Post, Oct. 12, 2018.
    4. Patrick Wintour, "Saudi summit in crisis as Khashoggi case prompts mass withdrawals," The Guardian, Oct. 13, 2018.
    5. Jamal Khashoggi, "Read Jamal Khashoggi’s columns for The Washington Post," The Washington Post, Oct. 6, 2018.
    6. Clarissa Ward, Tim Lister and Bard Wilkinson, "Pompeo meets Saudi King as Khashoggi family calls for inquiry into 'death,'" CNN, Oct. 16, 2018.
    7. Carmin Chappell, "Saudi government considers plan to admit missing journalist Khashoggi was killed in its consulate," CNBC, Oct. 15, 2018.
    8. Alex Lockie, "Turkey's Erdogan drops bombshell twist in the Khashoggi case as Trump appears to side with Saudis," Business Insider, Oct. 16, 2018
    9. Shane Harris, "Crown prince sought to lure Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia and detain him, U.S. intercepts show," The Washington Post, Oct. 10, 2018.
    10. Roqayah Chamseddine, "The U.S. and Saudi Arabia Have Been Getting Away With Murder for Years," In These Times, Oct. 16, 2018.
    11. Rodney Dixon, "The world can no longer ignore Saudi Arabia’s human rights abuses," The Guardian, Oct. 15, 2018.
    12. Kizer, "Trump has emboldened MBS to act with impunity."
    13. Jordan Fabian, "Trump says 'rogue killers' could be to blame for Saudi journalist," The Hill, Oct. 15, 2018.
    14. Shashank Bengali and Simon Roughneen, "Steven Mnuchin says he'll attend Saudi investment summit despite reports of journalist's killing," Los Angeles Times, Oct. 13, 2018
    15. Wintour, "Saudi summit in crisis as Khashoggi case prompts mass withdrawals."

    photo: Leah Millis/Getty Images