Jamal Khashoggi's bereaved fianceé urges Joe Biden: 'Do not break your promise to shun Saudi Arabia'

Jamal Khashoggi's bereaved fianceé urges Joe Biden: 'Do not break your promise to shun Saudi Arabia'
Jamal Khashoggi (Shutterstock).
World

President Joe Biden's recent announcement that he will visit the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on July 15th has sparked fierce criticism that he is reneging on his campaign promise to treat the repressive nation as a "pariah" for its role in the 2017 assassination of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

“Khashoggi was, in fact, murdered and dismembered, and I believe on the order of the crown prince,” Biden said on the trail in 2019.

Axios reported on Wednesday that White House Middle East coordinator Brett McGurk is making the final preparations for Biden's arrival.

READ MORE: These Are the Gritty Details of the Murder of Jamal Khashoggi

"One part of Biden's trip to Saudi Arabia will focus on a summit with the leaders of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Egypt, Jordan, and Iraq," the outlet noted. "The second part will be bilateral and will focus on repairing relations, on the U.S. need for an increase in Saudi oil production and on normalization steps between Saudi Arabia and Israel."

At around the same time that the Axios story broke, Hatice Cengiz, to whom Khashoggi was engaged prior to his death inside the Saudi diplomatic headquarters in Istanbul, Turkey, published an editorial in The Washington Post begging Biden to hold Saudi Arabia accountable for the murder of her fiancé.

"I waited outside the consulate for Jamal, anxious and delighted that our new life was just around the corner, but he never reappeared. Instead, he was cruelly tortured and killed. According to the Central Intelligence Agency, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman himself gave the order for the crime. Since then, the thought of what happened to Jamal and the details of the suffering he endured has haunted me every day," Cengiz wrote.

"In the days, weeks, and years that followed, I watched in horror as my fiance’s killers roamed free. As I fought to go on with my life," she continued, "President Donald Trump disregarded the calls to hold Jamal’s murderers accountable, and he rewarded them with billions of dollars worth of weapons. Calculating, cold politicians can never be trusted to bring about justice."

READ MORE: 'Awful and pretty indefensible': Critics condemn Joe Biden's upcoming meeting with Saudi Crown Prince

Cengiz recalled that while Biden's stern proclamation and "genuine decency and empathy" as a presidential candidate gave her hope, his newfound willingness to engage with Riyadh has "shocked and disappointed" her to her core.

"You condemn Russia for persecuting dissidents and committing war crimes in Ukraine. But the Saudis are executing the same horrific human rights abuses. Why are they being given a pass? Is that the price of oil?" she asked, warning the president that "at a time when attacks on press freedom are at an all-time high, your visit will tarnish your reputation and send a message to autocrats all over the world that they can imprison, torture or even murder journalists with no repercussions."

Cengiz urged Biden to consider the spirit of Khashoggi and "defend freedom, democracy, and human rights" as well as "confront those who make a mockery of these fundamental values at a time when the world needs principled leadership."

Cengiz condemned Biden's stopover as "a betrayal of your promises" that "risks emboldening MBS, as the crown prince is known."

READ MORE: Here Are 5 Things to Know About Saudi Journalist Jamal Khashoggi

She then implored Biden to "help those still suffering" and "demand the release of all wrongfully detained people, such as Abdulrahman Al-Sadhan, the son and brother of U.S. citizens, who has been tortured, disappeared and sentenced to 20 years in prison — all for the crime of anonymously posting satirical tweets."

Biden, Cengiz continued, should "also ask for an end to unlawful travel bans, which have been abused to keep critics trapped inside the country, where their freedom of expression is curtailed. Ask about Loujain al-Hathloul, U.S. resident Aziza al-Yousef, and U.S. citizens Salah al-Haidar and Bader al-Ibrahim, who are all being held captive by travel bans."

Biden's meeting with MBS, Cengiz concluded, "will significantly compound our grief and hopelessness."

Cengiz's full article is available here (subscription required).

READ MORE: 'What happened to his killers?': Jamal Khashoggi's fiancée demands Joe Biden hold Saudis accountable

This was not Cengiz's first attempt to capture the Biden Administration's attention.

In April, Cengiz tweeted:

My fight for justice for Jamal is not over. The courts might have decided that they can ignore the truth about his case, but I will not stop and I will not be quiet about it. We all know who is guilty of Jamal's murder and it is now more important than ever that I keep going.

Last month, Cengiz issued a statement to Democracy for the Arab World Now – a nonprofit founded by Khashoggi that promotes democracy in the Middle East – blasting "putting oil over principles."

Watch below:

READ MORE: 5 men sentenced to death for the murder of WaPo journalist Jamal Khashoggi

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