Persecuted Journalists Speak Out: A Global Forum on Torture and the Press, Fri., Nov. 2, Washington, DC

For Immediate Release Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018

Media Contacts: Andrea Barron,, 202-846-8178 Suzanne Trimel,, 973-509-8335

The forum will be livestreamed here:(

(Washington) –As the torture and murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi draws worldwide outrage and condemnation, a group of international journalists on Friday, Nov. 2, will speak out about the torture they endured at the hands of their own governments across the world. The Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition (TASSC) will host the forum with journalists from Egypt, Congo-Brazzaville, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Saudi Arabia from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at American University’s Washington College of Law. TASSC works with hundreds of survivors of torture every year, including many persecuted journalists as well as advocates for embattled journalists.

TASSC Executive Director Léonce Byimana said: “The torture and murder of Jamal Khashoggi is another horrific and tragic reminder that across the world journalists are being harassed, persecuted, tortured, kidnapped, disappeared, and killed by repressive governments, police and criminal cartels simply for doing their jobs. Our community of torture survivors at TASSC includes numerous journalists who were targeted by their governments’ security services, jailed and tortured for telling the truth about conditions in their countries. Harsh treatment is not uncommon among the stories we hear from journalists who are offered treatment and support for recovery by our organization. Our Nov. 2 forum is timely in light of Khashoggi’s killing but we want the world to know that violent assaults on journalists occur regularly throughout the world.”

Byimana noted that in 2017, the Committee to Protect Journalists documented the killings of 46 journalists worldwide. He said hostility against the media is growing in democracies, especially when journalists have been accused of spreading “false news” and of being “enemies of the people.”

In addition to journalists, the forum will include representatives from Reporters Without Borders, Committee to Protect Journalists and Ali Al-Ahmed, a Saudi writer on Saudi political issues, who will speak on the murder of Khashoggi.

Al-Ahmed said: “The US and Western governments should use the Khashoggi murder as a lever to focus international attention on Saudi Arabia and force it to improve human rights and allow freedom of the press." 

Members of the media are invited to cover the forum and speak to individual participants afterward. The American University Washington College of Law is located at 4300 Nebraska Ave., N.W., The forum will take place in Room Y403 of the Yuma Building (4th floor).

Please RSVP through the media contacts listed above.

For general public, please RSVP here

Use hashtag #journalistsontorture




TASSC International is the only organization in the United States founded by torture survivors to advocate for a torture-free world and educate people about countries where torture continues to be practiced. The organization provides direct services to torture survivors in the Washington, DC area. Its unique holistic approach includes social services, wellness and psychological services, employment counseling, legal representation for asylum and attention to their social and emotional needs.  TASSC leads torture survivors to testify before the U.S. Congress, at the State Department and other forums to encourage the United States to raise human rights and the struggle to abolish torture in its policies. TASSC International was founded in 1998 by Sister Dianna Ortiz, a U.S. Roman Catholic nun who was abducted and tortured while serving as a missionary in Guatemala.

TASSC International