Procedure : 2018/2885(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B8-0503/2018

Texts tabled :


Debates :

Votes :

PV 25/10/2018 - 13.18

Texts adopted :


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See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0498/2018

to wind up the debate on the statement by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

pursuant to Rule 123(2) of the Rules of Procedure

on the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul (2018/2885(RSP))

Marietje Schaake, Pavel Telička, Petras Auštrevičius, Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea, Izaskun Bilbao Barandica, María Teresa Giménez Barbat, Marian Harkin, Nadja Hirsch, Ivan Jakovčić, Petr Ježek, Patricia Lalonde, Louis Michel, Javier Nart, Urmas Paet, Maite Pagazaurtundúa Ruiz, Frédérique Ries, Robert Rochefort, Jasenko Selimovic, Ramon Tremosa i Balcells, Ivo Vajgl, Hilde Vautmans, Cecilia Wikström on behalf of the ALDE Group

European Parliament resolution on the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul (2018/2885(RSP))  

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on Saudi Arabia, in particular that of 11 March 2014 on Saudi Arabia, its relations with the EU and its role in the Middle East and North Africa(1), of 12 February 2015 on the case of Raif Badawi(2), of 8 October 2015 on the case of Ali Mohammed al-Nimr(3), of 31 May 2018 on the situation of women’s rights defenders in Saudi Arabia(4), and those of 25 February 2016(5) on the humanitarian situation in Yemen and of 30 November 2017(6) and 4 October 2018(7) on the situation in Yemen, which call for an EU-wide arms embargo against Saudi Arabia given the serious allegations of Saudi Arabia breaching international humanitarian law in Yemen,

–  having regard to the statement by Chancellor Angela Merkel of 21 October 2018 on putting arms exports to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on hold for the time being,

–  having regard to the remarks made by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs (VP/HR), Federica Mogherini, on 9 and 15 October 2018, and to her statement on behalf of the European Union of 20 October 2018 on the recent developments on the case of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi,

–  having regard to the statement of 16 October 2018 by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet urging Saudi Arabia to reveal all it knows about the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi,

–  having regard to the statement of 9 October 2018 by UN experts demanding a probe into the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul,

–  having regard to the statement by the G7 Ministers of Foreign Affairs of 17 October 2018 on the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi,

–  having regard to the joint statement of 14 October 2018 by the foreign ministers of the UK, France and Germany on the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi,

–  having regard to Saudi Arabia’s membership of the UN Human Rights Council,

–  having regard to the EU Human Rights Guidelines on Freedom of Expression Online and Offline,

–  having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR),

–  having regard to the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment,

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) of 1948,

–  having regard to the award of the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought and Expression to the Saudi blogger Raif Badawi in 2015,

–  having regard to Rule 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas the prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi had been missing since entering the consulate of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul on 2 October 2018, and had not been seen since; whereas extremely worrying information regarding his fate has come to light, prompting allegations of a possible extra-judicial killing and state-sponsored murder;

B.  whereas during a phone call with US President Trump, the King of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abdulaziz, denied any knowledge of what happened to Jamal Khashoggi;

C.  whereas there are allegations that CCTV footage was removed from the consulate, that all Turkish staff were ordered to take a day off, that parts of the consulate have now been repainted after Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance, and that 15 Saudi individuals, most of whom with clear links to the Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, the state security services, the military or other government ministries, arrived and left Istanbul on two chartered planes on 2 October 2018, the day Jamal Khashoggi disappeared;

D.  whereas following Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance, obstacles were put in place by the Saudi authorities to undermine a prompt, thorough, effective, impartial and transparent investigation; whereas only after international pressure and an agreement with the Turkish authorities were investigators allowed to examine inside the Saudi consulate on 15 October 2018 and given access to the consul general’s residence on 17 October 2018; whereas according to the Turkish media, the consul general Mohammad al-Otaibi left the country on 16 October 2018;

E.  whereas on 14 October 2018 the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia issued a statement threatening actions against any potential restrictive and accountability measures taken by governments and/or organisations in response to the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi;

F.  whereas Saudi Arabia has admitted that the killing of Jamal Khashoggi took place in its consulate in Istanbul;

G.  whereas Turkish and Saudi officials have announced a joint investigation into Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance; whereas UN experts have called for an international and independent probe into his disappearance;

H.  whereas states are obliged to take all measures to prevent torture, enforced disappearances and other serious human rights violations, to investigate allegations of acts constituting these crimes, and to bring to justice those suspected of committing them;

I.  whereas freedom of opinion and expression of the press and media, both online and offline, are fundamental rights of every human being and are crucial preconditions and catalysts for democratisation and reform and essential checks on power; whereas free, diverse and independent media are essential in any society to promote and protect human rights; whereas journalists’ work in uncovering abuses of power, shedding light on corruption and questioning received opinion often puts them at specific risk of intimidation and violence;

J.  whereas Saudi Arabia has the highest number of Twitter users in the Middle East; whereas Saudi Arabia is on Reporters Without Borders’ ‘Enemies of the Internet’ list on account of its censorship of the Saudi media and the internet, and its punishment of those who criticise the government or religion; whereas the 2015 Sakharov Prize Laureate Raif Badawi has been subjected to corporal punishment and is still in jail solely for peacefully expressing his views;

K.  whereas Saudi journalists and defenders based outside the country, including in Western capitals, have faced threats to their families in Saudi Arabia;

L.  whereas in recent months, the Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman has overseen a widespread crackdown against prominent human rights defenders, lawyers, journalists, writers and bloggers, which has intensified since he began consolidating control over the country’s security institutions;

M.  whereas the Saudi regime is, at the same time, running an expensive international media campaign, portraying itself as a modernising force, and announcing reforms with advertisements in newspapers and on billboards in Western capitals; whereas the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman travelled to the United States for a ‘cross-country America tour’, meeting the President and many leaders and high-profile figures in the tech and entertainment industry, including celebrities;

N.  whereas the Saudi regime has on several occasions pressured, coerced and threatened countries and international organisations, and has blocked international independent investigations in response to criticism from those countries and organisations regarding human rights violations in Saudi Arabia or international humanitarian law violations committed in Yemen;

O.  whereas surveillance systems and other dual-use items have been used to track and trace the movements of human rights defenders and critics in Saudi Arabia;

1.  Condemns the forced disappearance and the alleged extra-judicial killing and state-sponsored murder of Jamal Khashoggi and offers its condolences to his loved ones;

2.  Is extremely concerned about information on Jamal Khashoggi’s fate and the allegations of the implication of Saudi agents; takes note of the ongoing investigation by Turkish and Saudi officials; calls, however, for an independent and impartial international investigation into the circumstances of his death; calls on those responsible to be identified and brought to justice before a recognised, credible, independent and impartial court;

3.  Urges the Saudi authorities to disclose the whereabouts of his remains and calls on the Saudi and Turkish authorities to provide full clarity and transparency in their investigation; urges the VP/HR to support the call by UN experts for an independent international investigation and to offer full support and technical assistance to both international initiatives and to the Turkish authorities in their investigation;

4.  Reiterates that if the disappearance and murder of Jamal Khashoggi is attributed to Saudi agents, both state entities and individuals must be held to account; calls on the VP/HR and the Member States, in this regard, to stand ready to impose targeted sanctions, including visa bans and asset freezes against Saudi individuals, as well as human rights sanctions against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia;

5.  Urges the VP/HR, the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the Member States to conduct a structural dialogue with Saudi Arabia on human rights, fundamental freedoms and the country’s troubling role in the region within the framework of EU relations with the Gulf Cooperation;

6.  Condemns the Saudi authorities’ ongoing harassment of human rights defenders, lawyers, journalists, writers and bloggers, both within and outside the country, and insists that the Saudi authorities take the necessary steps to allow everyone to exercise their rights freely without any judicial harassment or other reprisals, such as threats to their families;

7.  Calls on the Saudi authorities to allow an independent press and media and to ensure freedom of expression both online and offline, freedom of association and peaceful assembly for all inhabitants of Saudi Arabia; condemns the repression of defenders and protesters when they demonstrate peacefully; stresses that the peaceful advocacy of basic legal rights or making critical remarks using social media are expressions of an indispensable right; urges the Saudi authorities to remove the restrictions placed on defenders which prohibit them from speaking out on social media and to international media;

8.  Reminds the Saudi authorities of their international obligations under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment;

9.  Calls on Saudi Arabia to accelerate social and political reforms and reiterates the necessity for Saudi Arabia to fully respect human rights and human dignity, including the fight against impunity;

10.  Reminds the Saudi Arabia leadership of its pledge to ‘uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights’ when it successfully applied for membership to the UN Human Rights Council in 2013;

11.  Calls on the Saudi authorities to put a stop to any further flogging of Raif Badawi, and to release him immediately and unconditionally, as he is considered a prisoner of conscience who has been detained and sentenced solely for exercising his right to freedom of expression; calls on EU authorities to raise the issue of his case in any high-level contact that there may be;

12.  Calls for a moratorium on the death penalty;

13.  Calls on the Council to impose an EU-wide arms embargo on Saudi Arabia, in line with Common Position 2008/944/CFSP, and an embargo on the export of surveillance systems and other dual-use items that may be used in Saudi Arabia for the purposes of repression;

14.  Calls for this resolution to be translated into (Saudi) Arabic;

15.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the European External Action Service, the UN Secretary-General, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, His Majesty King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and the Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud, the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the Secretary-General of the Centre for National Dialogue of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.



OJ C 378, 9.11.2017, p. 64.


OJ C 310, 25.8.2016, p. 29.


OJ C 349, 17.10.2017, p. 34.


Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0232.


OJ C 35, 31.1.2018, p. 142.


OJ C 356, 4.10.2018, p. 104.


Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0383.

Last updated: 23 October 2018Legal notice