The fiancée of slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi on Wednesday wrote an op-ed on the first anniversary of his killing, writing that he “has become the symbol of our collective moral conscience, the voice for the voiceless in the Middle East.”
She was the last person to see him alive before he stepped inside the building to obtain papers for their planned marriage.
“Who would have known that as we were finalizing preparations for our marriage, others were moving in for his murder? As the hours passed by in deep silence, I waited for him and stared at the gates of the consulate in fear and hope,” Cengiz wrote. “By the time I realized something was wrong, the damage was already done. Jamal’s blood had already been spilled; his body cut up into pieces.”
Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist who was critical of the royal family, was reportedly dismembered and taken out of the building.
The CIA and Western governments have asserted that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman directed the killing, a claim he denied in an interview with CBS released this week. The prince, however, took responsibility for the killing because it was committed against a Saudi citizen by officials working for the Saudi government.
“Jamal supported the fight for democracy in the Middle East after the Arab Spring,” his fiancée wrote. “ ‘It is time for concepts like freedom of thought and democracy to arrive in Arab states as well,’ he would say. It was statements like these that so provoked the current leaders of Saudi Arabia, afraid of their own shadows, their rage growing into such animosity that they carved up a human being because of his words.”
His death, Cengiz wrote, highlighted how far “human rights have been abandoned in the Arab world."
“The murder of Jamal, a rare man of his generation, was a blow to everyone fighting for democracy in the region,” she wrote. “It wasn’t just people who knew him who cried at his death; it was everyone crying for the fate of the people from this region. Muslims around the world performed a funeral prayer without a body. In getting rid of his body, his killers had dealt yet another blow to those who loved Jamal.”
The researcher of the Middle East wrote about how Khashoggi's death encouraged her to continue fighting for justice.
“I will never see or have the chance to meet with him again in the earthly realm. All my dreams have been profoundly shaken. Before this, I had my own struggles in life like everyone else. Now, Jamal’s fight for justice has been added to them,” Cengiz wrote. “Because world leaders claim to represent justice but lack morality, I have been left with the burden of carrying this feeling. I am not just the woman going after her partner’s cause in his absence, but also the one left to hold to account those who took his life.”