Khashoggi's fiancee urges Trump to back probe

Washington, USA Updated: Nov 02, 2018, 11:34 PM(IST)

Hatice Cengiz. Photograph:( Reuters )

The fiancee of murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi called Friday for President Donald Trump to back Turkey's efforts to investigate his death and recover his body.

Khashoggi -- a US resident and contributor to The Washington Post -- was killed in Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul on October 2, where he had gone to obtain paperwork for his upcoming marriage to Hatice Cengiz, who was left waiting for him outside.

"I would like to send this message to Mr Trump: I would like him to support Turkey's legal efforts in trying to bring light to the situation and to discover the whereabouts of his body," Cengiz said in a recorded message broadcast at a memorial for Khashoggi in Washington.

She has previously said she was "extremely disappointed" with the response of various countries' leadership to the killing, especially that of the US. 

Trump sent Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Riyadh and Ankara in October for talks with both regimes' leaders over Khashoggi, and even dismissed the Saudi response to the columnist's death as "one of the worst cover-ups" in history.

But he has repeatedly stressed that his priority is preserving the decades-old US-Saudi alliance and protecting major arms sales to the kingdom. 

"Today is November 2nd. It's been exactly one month since we lost Jamal," said Cengiz.

"Nothing has relieved me of the pain from the atrocity I experienced. The most important reason for this is because his corpse has still not been found," she said.

"Even though a month has passed since Jamal's murder, his body has still not been given to his loved ones and his funeral prayer has still not taken place. This is the smallest thing that one can do after a loved one has passed in the religion of Islam."

After initially insisting Khashoggi left the consulate unharmed, then saying he died in a fight, Saudi Arabia has said he was murdered in what it described as a "rogue operation."

Ankara has repeatedly called for the suspects -- who have been arrested in Saudi Arabia -- to be extradited for trial in Turkey, something that Riyadh has rejected.

Turkey -- which according to the Committee to Protect Journalists was the world's leading jailer of journalists in 2017 -- has emerged as an unlikely advocate for truth over Khashoggi's killing, which it has used to pressure regional rival Saudi Arabia.

Turkish officials kept up a steady stream of leaks about Khashoggi's killing for several weeks following his death, before the country's chief prosecutor announced on October 31 that the journalist had been strangled and dismembered.

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