Khashoggi fiancée pens op-ed urging Washington to do more

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The fiancée of the late journalist Jamal Khashoggi wrote an op-ed Wednesday calling on Washington to take stronger action to punish the Saudi government, which is suspected of directing his murder.

Hatice Cengiz wrote in The New York Times that while she had met with many members of Congress from both parties following her fiancé’s murder in October, she was disappointed with inaction from Capitol Hill in the face of a near-unanimous consensus that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing.

{mosads}“His loss was still fresh in the minds of the Democrats and Republicans I met. Individually, they all expressed their sympathies, spoke to me about how perhaps some progress might be made in the days ahead. Yet I sensed that they also felt embarrassed: No solid action has been taken yet,” she wrote.

“Washington has chosen not to use its strong ties and leverage with Riyadh to get the Saudis to reveal the truth about Jamal’s murder and to ensure those responsible are held accountable,” she added.

Khashoggi, a Saudi national, entered the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul in October to obtain documents ahead of his marriage to Cengiz, who is Turkish. The Western intelligence community later found that Saudi operatives killed him and removed his body from the building. 

U.S. officials have determined that the Saudi crown prince ordered Khashoggi’s killing as part of his widespread crackdown on dissent. The journalist, who wrote opinion articles for The Washington Post and lived in Virginia, was an outspoken advocate for increased freedom in the Middle East.

“If Jamal and his principles have any humanitarian and moral worth, this is the time to speak up. To support the struggle for democracy in the Arab world, isn’t it crucial to speak up against his violent death? If people of virtue don’t stand up today for a man who defended such values and fought to advance them in his country, then who else is going to do it,” Cengiz asked.

Saudi Arabia has denied any allegations that the royal court was involved in the murder and arrested 18 Saudi suspects and fired five top government officials. 

President Trump, whose administration has a close relationship with the Saudi government and Crown Prince Mohammed in particular, has declined to condemn the crown prince and contradicted his intelligence officials by questioning whether he was involved in the killing.

The Trump administration last year imposed sanctions on 17 Saudis accused of being involved in the plot to kill Khashoggi, but Trump resisted any stronger action that might jeopardize U.S.-Saudi relations.

Tags Donald Trump Jamal Khashoggi Jamal Khashoggi killing New York Times op-ed Saudi Arabia Time's Up

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