Once an adviser to the Royal family, estranged journalist Jamal Khashoggi had become the most prominent voice against the authoritarian regime of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Noted Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who later went on a self-imposed exile to the United States was assassinated on October 2, 2018. An ardent critic of the Saudi regime, Khashoggi’s voice for democratic reforms in his home country was silenced by the Saudi officials in an operation widely accepted to have been ordered by crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman. This was testified by foreign intelligence agencies, including intelligence agencies of the US. However, despite overwhelming evidence nothing happened to the Kingdom’s future king.
Two years later, Jamal Khashoggi’s fiancé, Hatice Cengiz, has sued the crown prince MBS and his several officials in October, 2020 for the assassination of the journalist in Istanbul, Turkey. The human rights group DAWN (Democracy for the Arab World Now), set up by the late journalist is mobilizing the case against the Saudi officials.
The Lawsuit against MBS
The lawsuit filed by Khashoggi’s fiancé accuses the crown prince and his alleged accomplices of disappearance, abduction, torture, murder and dismemberment of the journalist to “silence and prevent him from continuing his efforts in the US as a voice for democratization in the Middle East”.
Jamal Khashoggi was assassinated inside the Saudi consulate in the Turkish capital, where a team of Saudi men allegedly dismembered and disposed of his body. These men were accused of working on the directions of MBS. Cengiz has filed the case with the Washington federal court, with no hope of justice from Saudi Arabia.
Jamal Bin Ahmad Khashoggi was formerly the general manager and editor-in-chief of Al-Arab News Channel. Additionally, he also worked as the editor of Saudi newspaper called Al Watan. He left Saudi Arabia in 2017 and went to America where he was living in Washington under a self-imposed exile. During this time, he also worked with the Washington Post.
Khashoggi was a well-known voice against the authoritarian regime of Saudi Arabia. For decades, he worked for the royal family of Saudi as an adviser to the government. However, he had a fallout with the government in the year 2017 when the crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman started pushing ambitious reforms and contracts in the kingdom that were hugely criticized by people in the country. These ambitious moves by MBS led to the gory Yemen War which Khashoggi never supported.
The Saudi journalist was the man behind some of the groundbreaking stories including Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the rise of al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden. While working with Washington Post as a columnist, he often heavily criticized the crown prince and his father, King Salman of Saudi Arabia. In the year he was assassinated, Khashoggi repeatedly expressed fear for his life to his colleagues.
On the Assassination Day
Jamal Khashoggi was assassinated inside the Saudi consulate in Turkey on October 2, 2018. However, it wasn’t his only visit to the consulate in the year. He first visited the consulate in Istanbul on September 28, 2018 to collect a document as a proof of his divorce in Saudi Arabia. He was accompanied by his Turkish fiancé whom he was soon going to get married.
Watch: Jamal Khashoggi’s murder reconstructed
The journalist was told to come later on October 2. On that day, Hatice Cengiz waited outside while Khashoggi went in to collect the document. He was aware of the threat to his life and, therefore, handed two cell phones to his fiancé to call the adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan if he doesn’t return.
Khashoggi didn’t return. Cengiz waited for 10 hours outside the consulate.
Statements from Saudi Arabia
Saudi officials have consistently denied any information regarding Khashoggi’s whereabouts. Initially, the prince told the reporters that the journalist left after an hour and that the consulate had nothing to hide. However, just two weeks later on 20 October 20, the Saudi admitted that Khashoggi had died after indulging in a fight with officials attempting to take him back to Saudi Arabia.
A month later, on 15th November, the deputy public prosecutor of Saudi Arabia Shalaan al-Shalaan came forward and said that the assassination was executed under the leadership of a ‘negotiations team’ sent on the orders of deputy intelligence chief of Saudi Arabia. So far, five people have confessed their involvement in the murder.
While every intelligence agency involved in digging the truth about the murder confirmed that all fingers point to MBS, Saudi’s heir-apparent was vehemently supported and rescued by US President Donald Trump. According to a new book by the American investigative journalist Bob Woodward, when he questioned the president about the incident and the involvement of MBS, Trump said, “I saved his ass”.
He added, “I was able to get Congress to leave him alone. I was able to get them to stop.”
There has been no official reaction from the Saudi government or crown prince MBS on being sued by Jamal Khashoggi’s Fiancé Hatice Cengiz.