Panel to vote on renaming street outside Saudi Embassy in DC after Khashoggi

Panel to vote on renaming street outside Saudi Embassy in DC after Khashoggi
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A neighborhood advisory panel in Washington, D.C., will consider a resolution Wednesday to rename a section of the street that runs in front of the Saudi Embassy after slain Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2A (ANC), which serves the Foggy Bottom and the West End communities of D.C., will vote on a resolution Wednesday night to rename the portion of New Hampshire Avenue "Jamal Khashoggi Way."

The measure is nonbinding; it would have to be approved by the D.C. Council and would also be subject to congressional review.

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Activists began circulating a petition in October to rename the portion of the road after Khashoggi, a Virginia resident and Washington Post columnist who was killed last month after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

“Imagine if their mail had to be addressed to Khashoggi Way?” Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Washington, said last month, referring to the Saudi Embassy. “That their business cards included such an address?” 

The proposal before the ANC 2A is to rename the section of New Hampshire Avenue between F Street and Juarez Circle in Northwest D.C.

William Kennedy Smith, the ANC 2A’s chair, said the resolution is meant to promote freedom of speech and the press.

“When we don’t stand up for those values, it gives permission to others who are perhaps more brutal to take action,” Smith told The Washington Post.

“There’s a vacuum in terms of the U.S. response to this and it feeds into a larger conversation about the role of the free press,” he added. “That’s a conversation playing out in our own country when you have a president who introduces conspiracy theories and arguments that have no basis in fact. You have the language about ‘enemies of the people’ and ‘fake news’ that’s applied to a wide variety of serious journalism that’s not aligned with the interests of the president.”.

The CIA has determined that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing of Khashoggi as part of his crackdown on dissent.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump cites tax cuts over judges as having biggest impact of his presidency Trump cites tax cuts over judges as having biggest impact of his presidency Ocasio-Cortez claps back at Trump after he cites her in tweet rejecting impeachment MORE last week disputed that the CIA had reached a conclusion while defending his decision to not blame the crown prince for Khashoggi's killing.

“The CIA doesn’t say they did it. They do point out certain things. And pointing out those things, you can conclude that maybe he did or maybe he didn’t,” Trump said.

“They didn’t conclude. They did not come to a conclusion. They have feelings certain ways. … Nobody’s concluded," he added. "I don’t know if anyone’s going to be able to conclude that the crown prince did.”

Khashoggi was murdered on Oct. 2 in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Several Saudi officials were seen entering and leaving the consulate that day in quick succession, including one close to Crown Prince Mohammed.

The White House earlier this month announced sanctions against 17 Saudis for their alleged roles in the killing, including Saud al-Qahtani, a former top aide to the crown prince.

Still, a number of senators have pressed the Trump administration for further action and have demanded a briefing from the CIA.