All the King’s horses and all the King’s men can’t seem to find Khashoggi’s killer

Hatice Cengiz (right) , the fiancee of Jamal Khashoggi, the journalist killed at a Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey last year, has said she could not believe that no one had yet faced serious consequences for the crime. 
“I cannot understand that the world still has not done anything about this,” she said in emotional testimony to a US Congress hearing on press freedom and the dangers of reporting on human rights. “I still cannot make human sense of it. I still cannot understand. I still feel that I’ll wake up.”

Cengiz was the last person to see Khashoggi, a US resident and columnist for the Washington Post, before he went into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October to obtain papers for their upcoming marriage.

US authorities have concluded that responsibility for Khashoggi’s death went to the highest levels of the Saudi government. Riyadh denies the crown prince was involved.

Cengiz said she came to Washington hoping to help provoke a stronger reaction to her fiance’s death. She said Donald Trump invited her to the White House months earlier, but that she had not come then because she was not confident about his response. “I think we choose between two things …,” Cengiz told a House of Representatives subcommittee. “We can either go on as if nothing has happened … or we can act, we can leave aside all interests, international interests and politics, and focus on the values for a better life.”

This edited article was first published by The Guardian

 COMMENT . . .

That western governments have let Jamal Khashoggi down should come as no surprise, writes Pat Lancaster. Saudi Arabia is an extremely wealthy country that  puts massive amounts of money into corporate coffers across the world. Nobody wants to upset the applecart. Of course it would be nice to think that, just occasionally, justice and right would prevail over greed and avarice but, these days, that only seems to happen in the movies.

Jamal Khashoggi

I hate to break it  to Hatice Cengiz but Jamal Khashoggi’s murderer is  never going to be identified or punished although, I suspect, she already knows that.  The Saudi government has sprinkled a mess of red herrings around a supposedly unauthorised 15-member hit team, and if Cengiz presses hard enough and in the right places, a new culprit may eventually emerge and the world will be assured the “real killer” will be dealt with appropriately. It will never happen.  If the Saudis had intended producing the real killer, or killers, they would have done so by now.

However, what is almost more tragic than the fact governments have not united behind an effort to discover the truth, is that the media have also allowed the person, or persons, responsible for this cowardly, murderous act to get away with it. Khashoggi was one of our own. If we, as journalists, refuse to stand up and be counted by bringing every possible pressure to bear on those responsible, we are also complicit.

We cry and wring our hands when a fellow journalist is killed during the course of his or her work; we celebrate their life, write fawning eulogies to be read at memorial services, set up funds to help their families. Seemingly, we can deal with that sort of death – you go to a war zone to work, you get killed – it’s tragic but explainable.

What happened to Jamal Khashoggi however, is almost too frightening to contemplate and much too close to home. How many of us have spent hours in foreign embassies at home and abroad – at receptions, national day celebrations, waiting to interview the ambassador, meet the press attache, or waiting for a visa? How can any of us ever feel entirely comfortable again in doing so?  There is nothing in any media rule book that touches on a scenario where a well known and highly respected journalist  enters an embassy in a foreign capital and is never seen again, not outside Hollywood anyway.

Except that is exactly what happened to Jamal Khashoggi and today, many months after the event, the world remains not much the wiser. His family and loved ones do not even know the location of his body!

Sadly, I do not believe the media can force the identity of those responsible for  Khashoggi’s murder into the public domain. But we can and must keep making a noise about it. We cannot bring Jamal Khashoggi back but we can ensure that the world does not forget the punishment exacted  for speaking out against corruption and injustice and the very high price he paid for having the integrity to do so.


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