(New York) –– On the fifth anniversary of Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, PEN America decries the continuing lack of justice and warns of the far-reaching consequences of impunity in his case.

“The plot against Khashoggi was never just about silencing one individual; it was a direct attack on freedom of expression and the written word more broadly, and the impunity in his case has cast a shadow over writers who speak out against injustice worldwide,” said Middle East and North Africa Research and Advocacy Lead Justin Shilad.

“Five years after Jamal Khashoggi’s brutal murder, there has been no justice and no meaningful accountability, with dire consequences for writers worldwide. Under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudis are being sentenced to death or decades in prison for social media posts. Beyond the Kingdom’s borders, the lack of justice in Khashoggi’s case has laid the groundwork for transnational repression becoming institutionalized worldwide. Without meaningful accountability, returning to business as usual after Khashoggi’s murder will imperil free expression beyond Saudi Arabia.”

The international community has brushed aside concerns over Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s silencing of critical voices in favor of normalization. On the fifth anniversary of his murder, governments and institutions should reject business as usual with bin Salman’s government –– otherwise, targeting writers could become the new normal.

About PEN America

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. To learn more, visit PEN.org.

For further information or to request an interview, please contact Dietlind Lerner, [email protected] / +1 310 699 8775