Aug 7, 2019

Khashoggi killing: Judge orders federal agencies release records

Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul, Turkey

Journalist Jamal Khashoggi at an event in Istanbul, Turkey, in 2018. Photo: Omar Shagaleh/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

A judge in New York ordered federal agencies Tuesday to urgently release thousands of pages of documents related to the 2018 killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Turkey, AP reports.

Why it matters: President Trump and members of his administration including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have publicly stood by the Saudis after Khashoggi's death last year, despite the CIA's assessment that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the murder.

Details: U.S. District Judge Paul Engelmayer instructed State and Defense Department representatives to produce some 5,000 pages monthly related to the killing of the Saudi journalist because he said the information about disappearance and death of the United States resident was of "considerable public importance," per NPR.

  • The departments had argued that complying with the order for the documents under the Freedom of Information Act would make it impossible to respond in a timely fashion to other FOIA requests, AP notes.

What they're saying: Amrit Singh, an attorney with the Open Society Justice Initiative, which the filed suit in January seeking the immediate release of all government records related to Khashoggi's murder issued a statement welcoming the judge's order.

"This ruling is a clarion call for accountability at a time when the Trump administration is doing everything possible to hide the truth on who is responsible for Khashoggi['s] murder."

The big picture: The Trump administration has imposed sanctions on 17 people from Saudi Arabia and banned 16 Saudi nationals from entering the U.S. over their roles in the Khashoggi's murder.

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