On the cover image the American lawyer Asim Ghafoor and the murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi
Introduction by Fabio Giuseppe Carlo Carisio
This new investigation by Murtaza Hussain into The Intercept raises disturbing new questions about the brutal killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The journalistic investigation highlights the suspicion that one of the lawyers of the quartered Islamic activist in the Consulate of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul was arrested and detained in the United Arab Emirates because he knew too many secrets about his client’s death.
This story brings to mind the testimony denounced by lawyer James Kreindler, a prominent New York attorney who represents thousands of 9/11 family members and survivors who are suing Saudi Arabia.
He was the first to reveal that Khashoggi may have been killed because he knew too much about the 2001 Twin Towers bombing. Multiple investigations have shown he is the subject of an international conspiracy in which the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA counterintelligence) went to great lengths to obstruct the investigation of the Federal Bureau of Investigation which until the end tried to avoid the massacre.
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WHY IS THE UAE DETAINING AN AMERICAN LAWYER WHO WORKED WITH JAMAL KHASHOGGI?
by The Intercept
SINCE THE AMERICAN lawyer Asim Ghafoor was arrested in July while trying to make a connecting flight in the United Arab Emirates, his supporters in Washington, D.C., have been speculating as to exactly why.
Emirati authorities detained Ghafoor on accusations of money laundering and tax evasion while he was catching a connecting flight, informing him that he had also been secretly tried, convicted, and sentenced in absentia. Because of the UAE’s opaque legal system, many observers are suspicious that ulterior political motives led to his arrest. One theory stands out — and it has to do with the UAE’s close alliance with Saudi Arabia.
Ghafoor was associated with the murdered Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, whose brutal killing embarrassed the Saudi crown prince and damaged his ties with the U.S. Coupled with the UAE and Saudi Arabia’sshared history of retaliating against critics — with the most infamous case in the West so far being Khashoggi himself — suspicions now suggest that this is what happened to Ghafoor.
Ghafoor and Khashoggi’s relationship is widely described as both a personal and professional one. Newspaper editorials, members of Congress, a statement by the D.C.-based advocacy organization Ghafoor co-founded with Khashoggi, and Ghafoor’s own attorney have all referred to Ghafoor as Khashoggi’s lawyer. “He previously represented Khashoggi as well as his fiancée, Hatice Cengiz,” The Associate Press reported of Ghafoor.
That relationship between the two men has been called into question by at least one source: Khashoggi’s widow, Hanan Elatr.
That there are close ties between the two men is not in dispute. Ghafoor helped the Saudi exile found the organization Democracy for the Arab World Now, or DAWN, the Washington-based foreign policy advocacy organization that issued a statement about the case. Yet Elatr has strongly denied the characterization that Ghafoor worked directly as a lawyer for Khashoggi.
“I wish Mr. Ghafoor well, but he was not the lawyer of my husband,” Elatr told The Intercept in an interview. “My husband did not have any legal issue that he needed a lawyer.” Elatr, who was herself detained in the UAE on two occasions, including once after Khashoggi’s death, has been critical of what she described as attempts to politicize his legacy.
Others close to Ghafoor, however, including his U.S.-based lawyer Faisal Gill, said that questions about the exact legal relationship between the two men are a “red herring,” since Ghafoor was known to have provided ongoing legal advice to Khashoggi in the context of their relationship as co-founders of DAWN. DAWN, for which Ghafoor continues to serve on the board, regularly criticizes arms sales and human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
“At the end of the day, Asim was one of the founders of DAWN, along with Jamal Khashoggi.”
“At the end of the day, Asim was one of the founders of DAWN, along with Jamal Khashoggi,” Gill said. “Asim regularly talked to him and advised him on different things, and he has also been integrally involved in the lawsuit filed over Jamal’s killing. Asim signed the contract that created DAWN, which Jamal Khashoggi also signed and that got him killed. He’s been involved in this entire matter since the beginning.”
Since Khashoggi’s murder, Ghafoor has also been part of DAWN’s legal team in its lawsuit against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is believed to have ordered Khashoggi’s killing. Gill is himself an attorney in the case, which is ongoing.
A declaration by Ghafoor filed in federal court last year as part of the lawsuit against the Saudi crown prince describes Ghafoor as a board member involved in the initial establishment of DAWN, stating that he had also “negotiated an agreement with Jamal Khashoggi for him to serve as the executive director of DAWN” in May 2018. The declaration claimed that Khashoggi’s murder had a chilling effect on the organization.
“Mr. Khashoggi’s murder caused significant budgetary shortfalls for DAWN because donors reneged on commitments to financially support DAWN due to fear of retribution from the defendants in this case,” the declaration said.