DonateOn October 29th, Hatice Cengiz, the fiancée of Jamal Khashoggi, said Saudi authorities are responsible for his murder and condemned US President Donald Trump for allegedly paving the way for Riyadh to cover up the crime and escape responsibility.
“This is an incident that took place in a diplomatic mission … In such a situation the Saudi Arabian authorities are responsible for this… The Saudi Arabian authorities know how such a murder was carried out… They need to explain,” she said.
She also reiterated her disappointment with Donald Trump’s handling of the scandal, suggesting the obvious – that US business relations with Riyadh have heavily influenced Trump’s approach to the case.
“President Trump should help reveal the truth and ensure justice be served. He should not pave the way for a cover-up of my fiancée’s murder. Let’s not let money taint our conscience and compromise our values,” she told a memorial in London.
Cengiz said that she and the entire Turkish nation wish for those responsible to face justice, including the ones sitting at the top giving the orders.
“I believe that the Saudi regime knows where his body is … I want justice to be served. Not only for those who murdered my beloved Jamal, but for those who organized it and gave the order for it.”
She also emphasized her wish “the role of the political leadership in this brutal killing to be brought to light” and asked the international community to assist in holding “the perpetrators and their masters to account.”
“There should be no cover-up. Jamal was my beloved fiancée, but he was also a gentle human being, a loving man, a journalist and a true believer in democracy and freedom in the Arab world. Let’s demand justice for Jamal and stand up for his ideals,” she urged.
So far, Saudi Arabia has come out largely unscathed from the entire scandal. Germany stopped all weapon exports to the country. Furthermore, Germany, Austria and the European Parliament called for an EU embargo on weapons sales to the Kingdom.
French President Emmanuel Macro said that such a move would be populist “demagoguery.”
The Netherlands is lobbying for a new EU regime to sanction human rights abuses, regardless of where they happen.
British Prime Minister Theresa May said that Britain’s weapons exports to Saudi Arabia met national and EU arms export licensing rules. Thus, the UK will not undertake any actions.
Spain, meanwhile, is trying to go ahead with the sale of 400 bombs in order to protect a Saudi contract with a shipyard in the Andalusia region that would create 5,000 jobs.
It is apparent that stopping all arms sales to Saudi Arabia would hurt EU interests. One face-saving move for the European Union could be to sanction Saudi individuals accused of the Khashoggi murder and separate the issue from its close ties with the Saudi state.
The US undertook similar actions. It sanctioned 21 Saudi nationals, by revoking their visa or making it impossible for them to receive visas in the future. However, US Defense Secretary said that “We’ll continue to support the defence of the kingdom,” when he was asked whether the US would continue supporting the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen.
Turkey is still calling for justice, but it would not be surprising if it receives some concessions from the US and Kingdom to put the incident in the past. A possible Saudi concession would be helping Turkey establish a semblance of control on some Saudi-backed militant groups in Idlib, such as Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS). Generally, groups such as HTS receive funding from several sources so that they can maintain a relative “independence.”
On October 29th, the Sunday Express reported that UK intelligence allegedly knew of the plan to abduct and possibly murder Khashoggi. They reportedly warned the Kingdom’s intelligence services against it, but they were rejected. They undertook no further action.
On October 28th, BBC aired an interview with a friend of Khashoggi, Galip Dalay. He claimed that Khashoggi was attempting to find documentary evidence that Saudi Arabia used chemical weapons in Yemen.
This would have been of significance since the EU recently agreed on a mechanism to punish chemical weapons attacks by targeting people regardless of their nationality.