A new documentary exploring the United States’ relationship with Saudi Arabia amid the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi has been released.
“Kingdom of Silence,” directed by Rick Rowley, debuted on Showtime on Saturday, the second anniversary of Khashoggi’s murder. It follows Khashoggi’s trajectory from an insider who acted as an advisor to Saudi Arabia’s royal family, to someone who chose to speak out against his homeland in articles for US publication, the Washington Post.
On October 2, 2018, a team of fifteen Saudi agents flew to Turkey to meet Khashoggi inside the consulate for an appointment. Turkish officials allege he was killed and then dismembered with a bone saw inside the consulate. His body has not been found.
The team worked directly for the crown prince’s office, according to Agnes Callamard, who investigated the killing for the United Nations.
For director Rick Rowley, unearthing the motive behind the murder that gripped the world was the inspiration behind the documentary.
“We began and this was a murder mystery… But very quickly, it became clear that there were much more interesting questions sort of below the surface,” Rowley said. “Not was Mohammad bin Salman responsible for the murder. We now know definitively that he is. But why he killed him? But more importantly, who is this man who the kingdom would risk so much to try to silence? And so that question set us on a journey that spanned multiple continents…”
The case continues to cast a shadow over the international standing of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whose associates have been sanctioned by the US and the UK for their alleged involvement in the brutal killing.
The 35-year-old prince denies any knowledge of the operation and has condemned the killing. He continues to have the support of his father, King Salman, and maintains the support of US President Donald Trump, who has defended U.S.-Saudi ties in the face of the international outcry over the slaying.