(New York, NY)–A federal district court judge in New York City this week ordered the State and Defense Departments to produce thousands of pages of documents relating to the killing of exiled Saudi journalist and U.S. resident Jamal Khashoggi, who was murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018. PEN America released the following statement:

“We welcome this judicial ruling as an important to step to ensure greater transparency, and ultimately accountability, for those responsible for Khashoggi’s brutal murder. Evidence already released by U.S. intelligence agencies, as well as a report by Agnès Callamard, UN Special Rapporteur for Extrajudicial, Summary, or Arbitrary Executions, squarely implicate the highest levels of the Saudi government in this crime,” said Karin Deutsch Karlekar, director of PEN America’s Free Expression at Risk Programs. “Yet the Trump administration has resisted all efforts by the U.S. Congress, as well as U.S. and global civil society, to press for accountability. We urge these government agencies to adhere to the ruling. We endorse the recommendation in Callamard’s report that the U.S. declassify and release as much information about the Khashoggi murder as possible, consistent with national security. The U.S. can play a decisive role in shedding much-needed light on the circumstances of the murder so that justice can finally be served.”

PEN America has consistently called for justice in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, issuing an open letter in November 2018 signed by more than 100 writers, journalists, artists, and activists, including J.K. Rowling, Bob Woodward, Meryl Streep, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, calling on the UN Secretary General to authorize an independent, international investigation. A petition making the same call has garnered thousands of signatures. 

PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible. 

CONTACT: Stephen Fee, Director of Communications, sfee@pen.org, +1 202 309 8892