Khashoggi Fiancee: Trump Administration Response to Journalist Killing ‘Devoid of Moral Foundation’

The fiancee of slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi said the Trump administration’s response to Khashoggi’s death has been “devoid of moral foundation.”

“Of all nations, the United States should be leading the way in bringing the perpetrators to justice,” Hatice Cengiz wrote in an op-ed piece appearing Friday in The Washington Post.

Instead, Cengiz said, “Some in Washington are hoping this matter will be forgotten with simple delaying tactics. But we will continue to push the Trump administration to help find justice for Jamal.  There will be no coverup.”

The New York Times, quoting two people familiar with the matter, reported Friday that White House officials knew from an Oct. 9 phone call with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that he considered Khashoggi a dangerous Islamist, and therefore knew the Saudi prince had a potential motive for the killing.  But because of its deep investment in Prince Mohammed as the main lynchpin of the administration’s Middle East agenda, the Trump Adminstation concluded it could not feasibly limit his power.

Instead, the White House “has joined governments around the region in weighing what effect the stigma of the Khashoggi killing may have on the crown prince’s ability to rule – and what benefit can be extracted from his potential weakness,” the Times said, quoting people familiar with the administration’s deliberations.

Khashoggi, a U.S. resident, disappeared last month when he went to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to get a document he needed to get married.

The journalist, who was also a columnist for The Washington Post, was critical of Saudi Arabia.  He is reported to have been strangled and dismembered in the consulate.  “There is no explanation for this hate,” his fiancee said.

Governments, Cengiz said, “must all ask themselves a fundamental question: If the democracies of the world do not take genuine steps to bring to justice the perpetrators of this brazen, callous act – one that has caused universal outrage among their citizens – what moral authority are they left with?  Whose freedom and human rights can they credibly continue to defend?”

Cengiz said in The Washington Post Friday that it has been one month since she last saw her fiance as he entered the Saudi consulate.  She noted that Friday is also United Nations International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists.

 “The coincidence is tragic and painful,” she said.


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