Khashoggi fiancée rejects family forgiveness offer

Murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s fiancée has said “no-one has the right to pardon his killers” after his son said he forgave them.

Hatice Cengiz, a Turkish citizen, tweeted that the “heinous murder does not have a statue of limitations”.

Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi government, was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, in 2018.

Saudi officials say this was a “rogue operation” not sanctioned by the state. This account has been doubted globally.

Among those questioning the official Saudi line were some intelligence agencies and the United Nations (UN).

Khashoggi had been writing for the Washington Post newspaper and living in the US before his death.

After offering changing accounts of his disappearance, Saudi authorities eventually admitted he was killed in a botched operation by a team tasked with getting him to return to the country.

In December 2019, a court sentenced five unnamed men to death for their role in his killing after a secretive trial in Riyadh.

A UN special rapporteur, Agnes Callamard, labelled the Saudi trial the “antithesis of justice” and urged an independent investigation.

On Friday, Hatice Cengiz wrote on Twitter that Jamal Khashoggi had become “an international symbol bigger than any of us, admired and loved.”

Ms Cengiz added that “Jamal was killed inside his country’s consulate while getting the docs to complete our marriage. The killers came from Saudi with premeditation to lure, ambush [and] kill him.”

Earlier, a statement was posted to the Twitter account of Salah Khashoggi, one of the late journalist’s sons who lives in the Saudi city of Jeddah.

“In this blessed night of the blessed month [of Ramadan] we remember God’s saying: If a person forgives and makes reconciliation, his reward is due from Allah,” it said.

“Therefore we the sons of the Martyr Jamal Khashoggi announce pardoning those who killed our father, seeking reward God almighty.”

Death sentences can be commuted in light of a pardon by the victim’s family under Islamic law, but it is not clear whether that will apply in this case.

Salah has previously issued statements expressing his confidence in, and support of, the Saudi investigation.

He has also previously criticised “opponents and enemies” of Saudi Arabia who he said had tried to exploit his father’s death to undermine the country’s leadership. -BBC

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