Wed, 14 Apr 2021

Khashoggi Fiancee Urges Punishment for Saudi Crown Prince

Voice of America
01 Mar 2021, 20:35 GMT+10

The fiancee of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi said Monday that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman "should be punished without delay" for ordering the killing.

In a statement posted on Twitter, Hatice Cengiz said if the crown prince faces no punishment, "it will forever signal that the main culprit can get away with murder which will endanger us all and be a stain on our humanity."

Last week, the United States released a declassified intelligence report assessing the crown prince approved the murder of Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Turkey.

Khashoggi was lured to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018 and killed by operatives linked to the crown prince. His body was dismembered, and his remains have never been found.

Saudi Arabia eventually admitted that Khashoggi was mistakenly killed in what it called a rogue operation but denied the crown prince's involvement. It rejected the U.S. report on Friday, saying it contained "inaccurate information and conclusions."

Friends of murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi hold posters bearing his picture as they attend an event marking the second-year anniversary of his assassination in front of Saudi Arabia Istanbul Consulate, on Oct. 2, 2020. Friends of slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi hold posters bearing his picture as they attend an event marking the second-year anniversary of his assassination in front of Saudi Arabia Istanbul Consulate, on Oct. 2, 2020.

The U.S. intelligence report said it is "highly unlikely" Khashoggi would have been killed without the prince's approval.

"While the United States remains invested in its relationship with Saudi Arabia, President (Joe) Biden has made clear that partnership must reflect U.S. values," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement Friday.

The Biden administration announced visa restrictions against 76 Saudi citizens, with Blinken saying they are "believed to have been engaged in threatening dissidents overseas, including but not limited to the Khashoggi killing." The Treasury Department announced its own set of sanctions as well.

In her message Monday, Cengiz said the U.S. measures will only be meaningful if the crown prince faces punishment.

"Starting with the Biden Administration, it is vital for all world leaders to ask themselves if they are prepared to shake hands with a person whose culpability as a murderer has been proven, but not yet punished," Cengiz wrote. "Ignoring this fact and remaining in limbo without any punishment will cause us to lose our universal values of humanity."

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