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Don't put 'oil over principles', says Khashoggi's fiancé in appeal to US President Biden

The fiancee of murdered Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Hatice Cengiz in Washington, US on 2 October 2021 [Yasin Öztürk/Anadolu Agency]
The fiancee of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Hatice Cengiz in Washington, US on 2 October 2021 [Yasin Öztürk/Anadolu Agency]

The fiancée of slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Hatice Cengiz, has slammed US President Joe Biden over his plan to meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS), who according to US intelligence authorised the killing in 2018.

"Mr. Biden, you'll soon visit Saudi Arabia as president, where you'll meet with Jamal's heartless executer (sic), dishonouring yourself and Jamal by meeting MBS," said Hatice Cengiz in a video message posted by Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), a non-profit Khashoggi founded in 2018.

"Mr. President, I beseech you not to lose your moral authority or overlook this heinous crime," Cengiz said in the message yesterday. "You must uphold your role to bring all the perpetrators of this brutal crime to justice."

"Like me, you intimately know grief, pain and sorrow," Cengiz continued, invoking the 1972 car accident that killed Biden's first wife and infant daughter. "You understand how it is very, very difficult to recover … But unlike your losses, the person I loved was brutally murdered, and I'm being forced to live in a world where his murderers have not only been unpunished, but also been rewarded."

"As disappointing as this is," Cengiz went on, "if you have to put oil over principles, and expediency over values, can you at least ask, 'Where is Jamal's body? Doesn't he deserve a proper burial? And what happened to his killers?'"

READ: US ignores Khashoggi murder to 'reset' relations with Saudi Arabia

Biden is expected to visit Saudi Arabia and Israel in the middle of next month. Officials have said that the trip will take place between the 14-15 July but the date could shift. The trip marks a major U-turn in Biden's foreign policy.

All eyes will be on Biden during what will be his very first meeting MBS. The US president has called the 36-year-old a "pariah" and authorised the release of a report implicating the de facto ruler of the kingdom in the murder of Khashoggi.

The statement from Cengiz was also read out yesterday during the unveiling of the renaming of the street in front of the Saudi embassy in Washington, which is now called Jamal Khashoggi Way. The street sign was unveiled just after 1.14pm ET, the time Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018 never to be seen in public again.

"Dear Jamal, the ideas and values you lost your life defending have been celebrated worldwide and continue to spread in the region and in the globe" Cengiz said in her message.

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