Accessibility links

Breaking News

Khashoggi Fiancée Calls Saudi Murder Trial 'a Joke'

Hatice Cengiz, the fiancee of Jamal Khashoggi, attends an event marking the one-year anniversary of his killing, in Istanbul, Turkey, Oct. 2, 2019.

The fiancée of murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi called last month's death sentences for five unnamed assailants a mockery of justice in her first ever English-language interview.

"It’s like a joke to me. It’s unacceptable, really, because we don’t know any details about this investigation," Hatice Cengiz told Oslo-based Skavlan in a television interview on Sunday.

"They told us of only five men without names," she said. "And why they are five? More than 10 people came to Turkey!

"We want real punishment, even for [those who gave the] orders," she told host Fredrik Skavlan.

A court in Saudi Arabia sentenced five people to death and three others to prison in connection with the October 2018 killing of Khashoggi at Riyadh's consulate in Istanbul.

The brutal murder and dismemberment of the Saudi dissident writer with a bone saw occurred as Cengiz awaited his return outside the consulate walls.

The December 23 Saudi ruling, the outcome of largely secret murder trial proceedings, has been widely dismissed for punishing those who carried out the attack while protecting those who ordered it.

"Bottom line: the hit-men are guilty, sentenced to death, and the masterminds not only walk free, they have barely been touched by the investigation and the trial," said Agnes Callamard, special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions for the United Nations human rights office.

"That is the antithesis of Justice. It is a mockery," Callamard said

Riyadh's public prosecutor defended the ruling, explaining that death sentences targeted those who committed and directly participated in the murder, while imprisoning others "for their role in covering up this crime."

Callamard's June 2019 U.N. probe concluded that 15 Saudi agents "acted under cover of their official status and used state means to execute Mr. Khashoggi."

The U.N. report also found "credible evidence" linking Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the killing, and a U.S. CIA assessment said the crown prince ordered the killing.