Democratic Now Arab World Organization (DOWN) said Thursday that members of the US Congress is “collaborating with abusive governments in the Middle East.”
This is through their meeting with representatives of pressure groups working in favor of those governments in the United States.
The organization (based in Washington) called on members of Congress to “publicly pledge not to hold meetings with American pressure groups working on behalf of abusive governments in the Middle East.”
And those who distort the record of these governments in their efforts to secure American military and diplomatic support for them.”
This call comes in conjunction with the launch of the organization’s “List of Shame for Lobbyists” to expose the contributors to the abuses of these governments.
It added that among those “abusive” actors was Edward Newberry, who works for Square Patton Boggs.
He has been registered as a foreign agent since 2016 for the Saudi Center for Studies and Media Affairs, which was previously headed by Saud Al-Qahtani.
According to the organization, Newberry continues to represent the Saudi center as evidenced by the reports it submitted on July 29, 2021, under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
Newberry, a former collaborator of al-Qahtani’s, was one of the main suspects in the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
“Newberry signed an agreement with al-Qahtani in September 2016 for an annual fee of $1.2 million to defend the center on behalf of the center before US government officials, and it continues to operate.”
For its part, Sarah Lee Whitson, Executive Director of the organization called on members of Congress “to refuse to listen to the propaganda of these pressure groups.”
She said, “They (representatives of pressure groups) are whitewashing the crimes of authoritarian governments in the Middle East.
And they play a role in persuading the US government to continue supporting it despite those governments’ appalling human rights abuses.”
It is noteworthy that the US Treasury imposed sanctions under the Magnitsky Act on Al-Qahtani, a close advisor to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
For his role in the Khashoggi murder, he was banned from traveling to the United States, and his assets there were frozen.
A report by United Nations Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard on the Khashoggi murder also indicated that al-Qahtani was one of the masterminds behind the murder.
Turkish prosecutors also charged him with “incitement to premeditated murder through torture.”
Khashoggi was killed inside his country’s consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, in 2018, and his case went through 14 prominent stations.
The most recent report of the American intelligence, and in confirmation of the strength of the presence of the case, whose body is still absent.
The crime shook world public opinion thanks to a broad Turkish move whose echoes are still continuing.
He prevented the file from being closed by final Saudi court rulings in 2020, which were the subject of criticism.