Khashoggi's fiancee questions silence of Saudi Arabia's crown prince

DAILY SABAH WITH AA
ISTANBUL
Published 01.07.2019 00:10

Hatice Cengiz, the fiancee of slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi, on Sunday pointed to Saudi crown prince's silence on the report of U.N. Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard, which found "credible evidence" to further probe Saudi officials, including the crown prince himself.

Cengiz, having arrived at Geneva to take part in the 41st session of the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC), spoke to Anadolu Agency (AA) and commented on the recent U.N. report, silence of the Saudi crown prince and her life after Khashoggi.

Emphasizing that the U.N. rapporteur's report shocked the U.N. Geneva Office and international communities, Cengiz said she thought even Callamard herself might be surprised with the attention the report has drawn.

Callamard's report had said: "The evidence gathered by the inquiry suggests that the killing of Mr. Khashoggi constituted an extrajudicial killing, an enforced disappearance and possibly an act of torture for which the state of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is responsible."

Her report pointed that the inquiry found credible evidence of high-level Saudi officials' individual liability, including that of the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), whose "silence" on the report was a source of curiosity for Cengiz. "That he [the crown prince] has not made a statement about his name being involved in the assassination [case] as suspect indicates that some people possess the evidence suggesting his possible involvement in this incident," Cengiz alleged. She said MBS's silence might be because he is worried that evidence linking him to the killing might come up if the investigation goes deeper.

"This suggestive silence should be addressed, I think," she said, stating that it did not make any sense that Bin Salman has been silent despite being mentioned in the U.N. report. "Why did he not make a single refutation? That's the question," she further asked.

She pointed to the fact that Callamard's report called on the U.N. to launch an international criminal investigation. "This [call] is for U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres as it is the highest position that is able to prompt the world [to step into action]."

Furthermore, she urged Western countries such as the U.K., Canada and Norway to support the international criminal investigation as the one led by Saudi Arabia "lost its legitimacy" and it would "probably protect the perpetrators."

Not knowing the whereabouts of Khashoggi's body has been devastating for Cengiz as it makes her think that Khashoggi might still be alive. "This is an emotional trauma," she said.

Khashoggi was killed and dismembered by a group of Saudi operatives in the country's consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, 2018. Initially denying and later downplaying the incident as an accidental killing in a fistfight, almost three weeks after the disappearance Riyadh finally admitted that Khashoggi was murdered in a premeditated action but denied any involvement of the royal family. The incident was blamed on lower-level officials. Still, Khashoggi's body has not been recovered and the kingdom has remained silent on its whereabouts.

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