Slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was honoured on Wednesday during a memorial in Istanbul on the first anniversary of his killing, reports Anadolu Agency.
Human rights activists, loved ones including Turkish fiancee Hatice Cengiz, as well as local and international media members, gathered in front of the Saudi Consulate building in the Levent district.
A moment of silence was observed for Khashoggi before the commemoration ceremony began.
Andrew Cardner, Turkey representative of Amnesty International, Erol Onderoglu, representative of Reporters without Borders (RSF) and UN special rapporteur Agnes Callamard were in attendance of the event.
The ceremony began at 1.14 p.m. local time (1014GMT), the exact time when Khashoggi entered his country’s diplomatic mission last year to acquire documents for his planned marriage with fiancee Cengiz.
The Friends of Jamal Khashoggi initiative called the event a “moment of unsilence” – unlike other memorial services – asserting that remaining silent was exactly what the Khashoggi’s murderers wanted them to do.
Jeff Bezos, owner of The Washington Post newspaper, for which Khashoggi had written columns, Turan Kislakci, head of the Turkish-Arab Media Association, and Ayman Nour, a former member of the Egyptian parliament and founder of the liberal el-Ghad Party, also attended the event.
In a very short speech, Bezos told Cengiz, “No one should ever have to endure what you did.”
Describing her experience after the killing as “unimaginable”, he said: “Right here, where you are, you paced that street for hours; pacing and waiting and he never came out.”
“You [Hatice Cengiz] need to know you are in our hearts. We are here and you are not alone,” he added, embracing Cengiz after his speech.
Speaking after Bezos, Cengiz thanked everyone for joining the vigil. “I am at peace when I see you all,” she said in an emotional tone.
“In his life and work he was always calling for better conditions in his country. He was a pioneer voice calling for freedom of expression and more accountability of the state. What he didn’t succeed in his life is happening in his death,” she said.
“I was standing here [on. Oct 2, 2018]. I was a girl in love waiting for my man to come out of the consulate. We wanted to go to dinner; we wanted to invite our friend [to the] wedding. Now, […] I stand here broken but proud,” Cengiz said.
“Where is Jamal’s body? Will those who murdered him, be punished?” Kislakci asked during his speech.
The head of the Turkish-Arab Media Association demanded Saudi Arabia relinquish the consulate building to open a museum in honor of Khashoggi’s memory.