Khashoggi's fiancee criticises lack of action against Saudi crown prince

Ali Kucukgocmen
·2 min read

By Ali Kucukgocmen

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - The fiancee of slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi said on Thursday that world leaders should not maintain relations with a "murderer", after a U.S. intelligence report implicated Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler in his killing.

Khashoggi, a critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, 2018. Turkish officials believe his body was dismembered and removed. His remains have not been found.

A U.S. intelligence report released last Friday said Prince Mohammed had approved the operation to kill or capture Khashoggi in Oct. 2018. The Saudi government has denied any involvement by the crown prince and rejected the report's findings.

While Washington imposed sanctions on some of those involved, it spared the crown prince himself.

Hatice Cengiz, Khashoggi's Turkish fiancee who was waiting outside the consulate when he entered to retrieve documents for their upcoming marriage, said the report was "a very huge and important step" in the path to justice, but must be acted on.

"That it was said there would be no sanctions against the person who gave the order for the crime to be committed created a strange dilemma in everyone's minds. But this could change in the coming days," she told Reuters in an interview.

"The process of seeking justice is a long process, sometimes it is not easy."

HEARING

Cengiz was speaking after a court session of the trial in absentia of 26 Saudi officials over Khashoggi's killing, in which lawyer Ali Ceylan asked that the U.S. report be added to the case file.

The judge said Ceylan should file the request through the prosecutor and Cengiz, who is named as a complainant in the case, said they would apply for Prince Mohammed to be added as a defendant.

The court heard Edip Yilmaz, a driver for the Saudi consulate, say that on the day of the killing he was told by the head of security that for 20 minutes he should not leave a consulate basement room where he usually spent his time.

In September, a Saudi court jailed eight people for between seven and 20 years over the killing, in a trial that critics said lacked transparency. None of the defendants was named.

Tensions between Turkey and Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi's killing have led to an informal Saudi boycott of Turkish goods. Official data shows that Turkish exports to Saudi Arabia have fallen by more than 90%.

Cengiz said she believed justice would be served eventually.

"Those in power need to take action," she said. "Otherwise they will build their policies in the short to medium term based on a relation with someone who is proved to be a murderer."

(Editing by Dominic Evans and Gareth Jones)