Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney said that President Donald Trump’s campaign against the media “gave the green light” for the brutal murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Clooney, who has represented journalists detained in countries like Egypt and Azerbaijan, linked Trump’s rhetoric about the media to the killing of the Washington Post journalist.
Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Leaked accounts of his murder say that the killing lasted seven minutes and he was suffocated. Turkish investigators reportedly believe that Khashoggi’s remains may have been dissolved in acid.
Clooney attacked Trump while speaking at a UN Correspondents Association ceremony in New York on Wednesday, where she was given an award.
“The US president has given such regimes a green light and labeled the press in this country the enemy of the people,” she said, according The Times of London.
“And of course two months ago a Washington Post journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, walked into a consulate in Istanbul and was brutally tortured to death.”
Trump has repeatedly referred to the press as the enemy of the people and has embraced chants against news outlets at his rallies.
CNN president Jeff Zucker also criticised the White House in October for “the seriousness of their continued attacks on the media” after more than a dozen bombs were sent to places including CNN’s office in Manhattan.
Clooney’s recent clients have i ncluded Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who were convicted and jailed for seven years in Myanmar for covering the killing of the Rohingya minority by government forces.
Trump has also been criticized over Khashoggi’s killing for refusing do condemn Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman who many, including US senators and the CIA, believe orchestrated the killing.
Senators from both parties on Wednesday announced with a “high level of confidence” that Crown Prince Mohammed was “complicit” in the killing.
Trump has doubled down on his defense of the Saudi crown prince and said the US-Saudi relationship is “paramount” in his decision-making.