He­len Grant

Kent Messenger Maidstone - - LETTERS TO THE EDITOR -

Pres­i­dent Trump’s con­stant, hos­tile and ir­re­spon­si­ble at­tacks on in­con­ve­nient ‘Fake News’ and at­tempts by Putin’s Rus­sia to dis­sem­i­nate mis­in­for­ma­tion through con­trived so­cial me­dia ac­counts threaten the very ex­is­tence of a free press. Fur­ther­more, ac­cord­ing to Re­porters Sans Fron­tières, 72 jour­nal­ists, cit­i­zen jour­nal­ists and me­dia as­sis­tants have been killed, so far, this year. This at­tack on free­dom of ex­pres­sion threat­ens to un­der­mine our democ­ra­cies and there­fore should con­cern us all.

It is within this con­text that the re­cent dis­ap­pear­ance of the prom­i­nent jour­nal­ist and critic of the Saudi Govern­ment Ja­mal Khashoggi has shocked the world and I am per­son­ally stag­gered by the emerg­ing hor­rific de­tail. All of the ev­i­dence points cul­pa­bil­ity for his death to­wards the Saudi Govern­ment and the Turk­ish au­thor­i­ties claim to have proof that he was tor­tured and killed by agents of the Saudi state.

Mr Khashoggi’s death is an abom­i­na­tion and a di­rect threat to the way of life we all hold dear. I am en­cour­aged that the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity are re­ject­ing the Saudi Govern­ment’s ever deep­en­ing web of lies, de­ployed to try and de­flect away the global glare and, no doubt, pro­tect their in­vest­ment in­ter­ests which are now, quite rightly, un­der threat.

Our For­eign Sec­re­tary has been clear that those found re­spon­si­ble for the mur­der must be held ac­count­able.

How­ever, this bar­baric in­ci­dent is the lat­est in a long line of hu­man rights abuses by the Saudi regime and Gov­ern­ments around the world must now back up their rhetoric with ac­tion. States who hold democ­racy and free­dom dear must con­sider whether they can re­ally do busi­ness with peo­ple whose val­ues are ap­par­ently so in­com­pat­i­ble with their own.

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