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Khashoggi fiancée meets with lawmakers seeking 'justice and accountability' for his slaying

Khashoggi fiancée meets with lawmakers seeking 'justice and accountability' for his slaying
© Aaron Schwartz

The former fiancée of slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi met with lawmakers on Capitol Hill Thursday to lobby Congress to hold those responsible for his killing last year accountable.

“I am here for one reason and one reason only — to bring justice and accountability for Jamal, my beloved who was brutally murdered by Saudi agents. The Trump Administration has failed to take any significant action to hold anyone accountable for this heinous crime, so I am here to ask conscientious members of Congress to ensure accountability and real consequences for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi,” Hatice Cengiz said in a statement released Friday. 

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Khashoggi, a Saudi-born columnist for The Washington Post who lived in Virginia, was brutally slain and dismembered in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul just over a year ago while trying to get documents for his marriage to Cengiz.

The intelligence community has said it is confident Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered Khashoggi’s killing due to his criticism of the Saudi Royal Court, but President TrumpDonald TrumpNorth Carolina Senate passes trio of election measures 14 Republicans vote against making Juneteenth a federal holiday Border state governors rebel against Biden's immigration chaos MORE has refrained from directly blaming the prince for the death.

Cengiz has teamed up with Democracy in the Arab World Now (DAWN), a group Khashoggi founded, to promote democracy and to push international leaders to seek justice over the 2018 slaying.

“Our clients, Ms. Cengiz and DAWN have asked us to pursue accountability in all its forms,” said former Ambassador Keith Harper, who the team has hired as its attorney. “We are exploring all options and we are on the Hill today to ask our nation’s lawmakers to hold accountable Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and other Saudi officials who are responsible for this awful crime.” 

Cengiz also met with lawmakers shortly after Khashoggi’s murder, but later wrote she is disappointed with inaction from Capitol Hill in the face of a near-unanimous consensus that the crown prince ordered the killing.

“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 in a June op-ed in The New York Times

Cengiz Thursday met with Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinYouth climate activists march outside California homes of Pelosi and Feinstein Cosmetic chemicals need a makeover Progressives want to tighten screws beyond Manchin and Sinema MORE (D-Calif.) and Reps. Tom MalinowskiThomas (Tom) MalinowskiOvernight Health Care: Biden 'very confident' in Fauci amid conservative attacks | House Dems press Biden on global vaccinations | CDC director urges parents to vaccinate adolescents House Democrats call on Biden to do 'much more' to vaccinate the world Rep. Malinowski traded as much as M in medical, tech stocks with stake in COVID-19 response MORE (D-N.J.) and Karen BassKaren Ruth BassBlack Republican advocates his case for CBC membership Tim Scott: Could be 'very hard' to reach police reform deal by June deadline Police reform negotiations enter crucial stretch MORE (D-Calif.).

Saudi Arabia has denied any allegations that the royal court was involved in Khashoggi's death.