He was my Jamal and he was taken from me: Jamal Khashoggi fiancee

“Jamal was not just a journalist. He was not just a prominent champion for the rights of Saudi people and the broader Arab world. He was my Jamal and he was taken from me,” said Hatice Cengiz, fiancee of Jamal Khashoggi and Turkish writer on the third anniversary of the journalist’s murder.

While speaking at an event organized by the Freedom First campaign on the National Mall to mark the third anniversary of the journalist’s murder, she urged U.S. President Joe Biden to fulfill his promise to not let the Saudi journalist’s death be in vain.

Khashoggi, a U.S. resident, and columnist for The Washington Post, was brutally murdered and likely dismembered after being lured by Saudi officials to their consulate in Istanbul in October 2018. While Saudi initially denied any role in his death, it later sought to pin blame on what it said was a botched rendition operation. That explanation has been widely rejected.

A report released in February by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) under the Biden administration said Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) approved the killing. The report added that the crown prince, the kingdom’s de facto leader, “approved an operation … to capture or kill” Khashoggi.

While during an emotional speech, Cengiz recalled that Donald Trump was the U.S. president when the Saudi journalist was murdered, saying the former leader of the free world continued to support the Saudi government and refused to hold MBS accountable for the grisly killing.

“President Biden and Vice President (Kamala) Harris! When will you step up and fulfill your promises? When will you translate your words into action?” Cengiz asked while quoting Biden’s remarks when he was a presidential candidate: “Khashoggi and his loved ones deserve accountability. Jamal’s death will not be in vain.”

On Friday, the United States laid the blame for the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi squarely at the feet of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in a long-awaited report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The release of the report, which is just three pages long, signaled a change from the previous U.S. administration, which had refused to publicize intelligence findings on the murder in what critics said was Trump’s decision to shield the crown prince.