The fiancée of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi said last night that she believes the Saudi regime knows where his body is buried, describing him as a “martyr” and having given a “voice to the voiceless”.
Hatice Cengiz also said she had been “disappointed in the actions of the leadership in many countries, particularly in the US”, adding: “President Trump should help reveal the truth and ensure justice be served.
“He should not pave the way for a cover-up of my fiancé’s murder.”
Khashoggi, a correspondent for the Washington Post, was killed on 2 October after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, to obtain documents for his upcoming marriage to Cengiz.
The Saudi regime first claimed he had left the consulate alive, with surveillance footage showing another man appearing to wear his clothes. It was later claimed Khashoggi had died in a fistfight.
Saudi’s top prosecutor has since said he was killed by agents in a “rogue operation” not sanctioned by the kingdom. It has arrested 18 men in connection with his death.
Cengiz said: “If only I knew that there were blood-thirsty, evil people waiting inside the consulate for my Jamal, I would have done all I could to prevent him from entering.”
She spoke at a memorial event in honour of Khashoggi in London yesterday. The event, organised by Middle East Monitor, was packed out. Press Gazette was unable to gain access, despite having a ticket.
An English translation of Cengiz’s speech, which was delivered in her native Turkish, has been shared on MEMO’s website.
She said: “In death, as in life, he has proved to be a voice of the voiceless. Despite the cruelty and cowardice of his murderers, in death, he has been as beautiful, loving and brave as he was in life.
“Just as in life his words frightened ruthless dictators, his death has struck fear into the hearts of many. His death has already served as an inspiration for millions.
“What Jamal fought for is now the duty of those millions. We need to carry this torch from hand to hand. But first and foremost, I want justice for my beloved Jamal. I want to have his body.
“Jamal is a martyr for a cause. He is a martyr for the struggle for democracy and freedom in our part of the world. I want to bury the body of my beloved Jamal – my martyr – surrounded by the prayers of his friends and loved ones. I want to know: Where is his body?
“I believe that the Saudi regime knows where his body is. They should answer my demand, for this is not only the demand of a fiancée, but a human and Islamic demand.”
Prime Minister Theresa May last week rejected the claim Khashoggi had died in a brawl, saying: “We must get to the truth of what happened.”
Cengiz said she wanted the “role of the political leadership in this brutal killing to be brought to light”, adding: “I want justice for Jamal.
“I call upon the conscience of humanity and the international community – please help us to reveal the truth and hold the perpetrators and their masters to account for their crimes.
“I am deeply grateful for the solidarity of people all over the world. I am, however, disappointed in the actions of the leadership in many countries, particularly in the US.
“President Trump should help reveal the truth and ensure justice be served. He should not pave the way for a cover-up of my fiancé’s murder. Let’s not let money taint our conscience and compromise our values…
“There should be no cover-up. Jamal was my beloved fiancé, 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.”
Cengiz was also interviewed on BBC Newsnight last night (pictured). She revealed that she had been waiting outside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul when Khashoggi was killed earlier this month.
She said Khashoggi had “believed the likelihood of something bad happening to him in Turkey where very low”, adding: “He thought Turkey’s relations with Saudi Arabia were very good, it never crossed his mind”.