Rights groups reminded mayors of the world's leading cities of Saudi Arabia's bad human rights record and said that should be reason enough to not attend Riyadh’s Urban20 Summit.
A global coalition of human rights groups and peace organisations urged mayors of the world’s major cities to boycott the G20 Summit, which will be hosted by Saudi Arabia between September 30 and October 2.
The event will coincide with the second anniversary of the murder of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi who was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan, Madrid’s José Luis Martínez-Almeida, New York’s Bill de Blasio, Berlin’s Michael Muller and Paris’s Anne Hidalgo are among the mayors who were asked by the right groups to not attend Riyadh's Urban20 Summit.
The coalition stated Saudi Arabia is an unfit and inappropriate host for the event due to it being “an absolute monarchy without any form of meaningful democratic representation.”
“The Saudi government has a long record of silencing the very voices that are necessary for a meaningful global conversation regarding the massive challenges we collectively face,” the statement wrote.
Since Mohammed bin Salman, also known as MBS, became crown prince in 2017, the brutality has only intensified in the kingdom.
In the letter, the group urges mayors “to publicly demand that the Saudi government take clear and immediate steps towards ending its record of human rights violations, reckless foreign policy, and environmental destruction.”
Moreover, releasing prisoners of conscience, accountability for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, and ending Saudi war in Yemen are in the demand list.
Additionally, the letter added some information about Saudi’s jailing and killing human rights advocates, violating women’s rights, sponsorship system of modern-day slavery, and intervening against democracy.
Death penalty of Saudi killers of Khashoggi dropped
A Saudi court overturned five death sentences over journalist Jamal Khashoggi's murder in a final ruling that has jailed eight defendants to between seven and 20 years, according to state media.
"Five of the convicts were given 20 years in prison and another three were jailed for 7 to 10 years," the official Saudi Press Agency said, citing a spokesman for the public prosecutor.
None of the defendants were named in what was described as the final court ruling on the killing, which had sparked international outcry.
A senior UN official described a Saudi trial that handed out prison sentences to eight unnamed men over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi as a ‘parody’.
Khashoggi – a royal family insider turned critic – was said to be killed and dismembered at the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul in October 2018, in a case that tarnished the reputation of de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Khashoggi, a 59-year-old Washington Post columnist and critic of the crown prince, was strangled and his body cut into pieces by a 15-man Saudi squad inside the consulate, according to Turkish officials. His remains have not been found.