The world is failing Jamal Khashoggi – fiancée

The fiancée of murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi never imagined that, a year after his killing, she would be left alone in her quest to bring the Saudi leadership to justice, Hatice Cengiz wrote in an op-ed for the Washington Post.  

Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and vocal critic of Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed on Oct. 2, 2018, while visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to get papers required to marry Cengiz. 

Over the past year, Cengiz said she has travelled the world calling for justice. 

“Not a single material step has been taken toward punishing the real perpetrators,” she said. “Though Saudi Arabia likes to tout its trial of the men accused of killing Jamal, in reality, its government is making everyone wait with bated breath for the outcome of a process that has been engineered to distract attention from those who gave the orders.”

Cengiz said it was clear the jailed suspects could not have carried out the murder on their own, and that the true perpetrators include individuals at the highest levels of the Saudi government.

Khashoggi’s killing is a global human rights issue, yet despite a U.N. report that points toward the Saudi leadership, no European Union country has taken measures to force the Saudi government to listen, said Cengiz. 

“The response from (U.S. President Donald) Trump has been even more disappointing. Rather than call for justice for a U.S. resident lured into danger and assassinated by a foreign power, the president has indicated from the start that he would prioritise his own national objectives above human rights,” she said, adding that the United States had supported Saudi Arabia’s coverup by vetoing congressional attempts to hold the Saudi government accountable for other abuses.

“With his response, Trump is effectively abandoning those fighting for democracy and freedom within the Middle East. He is belittling concepts such as human rights and freedom of expression — core tenets of the U.S. Constitution — and downplaying American values,” said Cengiz. 

During a visit to Washington this year, Cengiz said the White House had failed to respond to her request for a meeting with Trump, yet she learned that the U.S. response to Khashoggi’s killing had embarrassed some members of Congress. 

“There is a serious faction of lawmakers who represent the country’s conscience. They want the truth about the murder to be brought to light, and they would like to see sanctions imposed against Saudi Arabia,” she said. 

“It’s not too late,” Cengiz added. “I continue to hope the United States decides to stand for what is right. In the meantime, I will continue seeking justice for Jamal — and hope that people and governments the world over will join me in my quest.”