Wednesday, October 2, 2019 4:20 pm
Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos tells Jamal Khashoggi’s fiancee Hatice Cengiz: “You are not alone”.
The two embraced on stage at a memorial in Istanbul for Khashoggi, steps away from Saudi Arabia’s consulate inside which he was murdered.
“No one should ever have had to endure what you did.
“Right here where you are, you faced that street for hours, pacing and waiting – and he never came out. It is unimaginable.
“And you need to know that you are in our hearts. We are here,” Bezos said to Cengiz.
Cengiz had spoken at a memorial for the murdered Saudi journalist, saying : “He was my best friend, he was the love of my life. I still love him.”
The vigil in Istanbul took place near the Saudi Arabian consulate where Khashoggi was killed a year ago. Cengiz had been waiting outside.
“Last year I was standing here. I was a girl in love, waiting for my man to come out of the consulate.
“We wanted to go to dinner. We wanted to invite our friends to our wedding.
“I want to know what happened to his body. I want his friends to be released from jails.
“I want that those in power are held accountable for their actions.
“All the world’s eyes are on the kingdom (Saudi Arabia), and this issue will follow them everywhere,” she said.
On Oct. 2, 2018, Jamal Khashoggi, a U.S.-based journalist and critic of Saudi Arabia’s government, walked into the country’s consulate in Istanbul, where he was murdered.
In the months since, conflicting narratives have emerged over who was responsible, how he died, and what happened to his remains.
Saudi officials have said the journalist was killed in a “rogue operation” by a team of agents sent to persuade him to return to the kingdom, while Turkish officials have said the agents acted on orders from the highest levels of the Saudi government.
In the latest development, a United Nations special rapporteur concluded that Khashoggi was “the victim of a deliberate, premeditated execution, an extrajudicial killing for which the state of Saudi Arabia is responsible”.
She also found there was “credible evidence” that Saudi crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and other high-level officials were individually liable.
The Saudi government, which denies the prince was involved, rejected the report.
As a prominent Saudi journalist, he covered major stories, including the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the rise of the late al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, for various Saudi news organisations.
For decades, the 59-year-old was close to the Saudi royal family and also served as an adviser to the government.
But he fell out of favour and went into self-imposed exile in the U.S. in 2017.
From there, he wrote a monthly column in The Washington Post in which he criticised the policies of Prince Mohammed, who had become the kingdom’s de facto ruler.
In his first column for the Post, Khashoggi said he feared being arrested in an apparent crackdown on dissent overseen by the prince.
Khashoggi first visited the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 28 September to obtain a Saudi document stating that he was divorced, so that he could marry his Turkish fiancée, Hatice Cengiz.
But he was told he would have to return to pick up the document and arranged to come back on Oct. 2.
“He did not believe that something bad could happen on Turkish soil,” Ms Cengiz wrote in the Post.
Ms Cengiz accompanied him to the entrance of the consulate on Oct. 2. He was last seen on CCTV footage entering the building at 13:14 local time.
Khashoggi’s killing was internationally condemned and caused a diplomatic crisis between Saudi Arabia and some of its closest allies, including the U.S.
After the murder was confirmed by the Saudis, U.S. President Donald Trump described it as the “worst cover-up in history”.
However, he defended U.S. ties to the kingdom, a key trading partner.
This response was widely derided by senators in Congress who point the finger at Prince Mohammed and want the US to take tougher action against Saudi Arabia by halting arms sales.
According to U.S. media reports, the CIA – whose boss, Gina Haspell, has heard the consulate audio recordings – concluded that Prince Mohammed ordered Khashoggi’s killing. Mr Trump denied that.
The U.S., Canada, France and the UK all levied sanctions against 18 Saudis allegedly linked to the killing. The Saudi crown prince was not among them.
Germany, Finland and Denmark were among the European nations to cancel arms deals with Saudi Arabia after the killing. (dpa/NAN)