This past September, a Saudi Arabian court commuted the death sentence of five unknown people who had been convicted of the brutal slaying of acclaimed Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a well-respected critic of the Saudi government and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Khashoggi, who went into self-imposed exile in 2017 and began working for the Washington Post, visited the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey on October 2, 2018 in order to obtain papers to marry his Turkish fiancée Hatice Cengiz. He never came out.
The Saudis said he was murdered in a “rogue operation” at the consulate. But tapes and transcript of the murder reveal something far more heinous happened to Khashoggi: He was restrained after a violent struggle, drugged and then dismembered. His remains were handed over to a “collaborator” outside of the consulate. Eleven unknown people were put on trial by the Saudis. Besides the men who had their death sentences commuted, three more were given prison sentences. And another three were found not guilty. MSB was questioned but was cleared of any wrongdoing.
Khashoggi’s murder and the aftermath of his death is the subject of Oscar-winning documentarian Bryan Fogel’s (“Icarus”) latest film “The Dissident,” which premiered at Sundance to rave reviews. This Briarcliff Entertainment release is currently rated 96% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. “As comprehensive and sobering an account of the murder of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi as one could want,” said Todd McCarthy in the Hollywood Reporter, adding Fogel had “assembled this massively documented investigation in an impressively short amount of time: Khashoggi was killed at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, 2018, but not one feels no stone was left unturned in researching and conveying the story.”
Besides a treasure trove of footage-especially if Khashoggi, “The Dissident” focuses on Montreal-based Omar Abdelaziz, a fellow dissident and friend of Khashoggi who blames himself for the journalist’s murder and lives in constant fear that he will be tracked down by Saudi agents, and Cengiz, who waited outside the consulate for hours for her fiancée to come out.
Since his death, she has fought for justice for Khashoggi’s murder. Cengiz was very vocal in September when Saudi Arabia closed the case. “The ruling handed down today in Saudi Arabia again makes a completely mockery of justice. The Saudi authority are closing the case without the world knowing the truth of who is responsible for Jamal’s murder.”
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