Jamal Khashoggi: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Jamal Khashoggi

AFP/Getty Jamal Khashoggi

Jamal Khashoggi was a Saudi Arabian journalist and columnist for The Washington Post who was assassinated by Saudi Arabian officials when he went into a consulate in Turkey to collect marriage documents.

Khashoggi was brutally killed and dismembered at age 59. His fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, has made a call for justice nearing the anniversary of his death. Khashoggi was killed October 2, 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey. He was a legal resident of the United States at the time of his death, Al Jazeera reported. He earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Indiana State University in 1983.

Mohammad bin Salam has come under fire for the killing, which he acknowledged happened under his watch. He denied knowing the journalist would be killed in an interview with PBS.

Here’s what you need to know:


1. Khashoggi Was Murdered After he Entered a Consulate in Istanbul to Collect Marriage Documents

Neither Khashoggi nor his fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, had any suspicion he was walking toward his death when he entered the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.

“He didn’t voice his worries,” Cengiz told The Times. “When he said hello to the person at the gate, he was smiling.”

She was the only witness to his disappearance. He went inside to collect documents for his upcoming marriage to Cengiz.

Cengiz was a Turkish graduate student. The couple planned to marry the next day, according to The New Yorker.

Khashoggi was brutally murdered and dismembered October 2, 2018.


2. Hatice Cengiz, Khashoggi’s Fiancee, is Calling for Justice in his Slaying

Hatice Cengiz

ISABEL INFANTES/AFP/Getty ImagesTurkish writer and fiancee of the murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Hatice Cengiz speaks on the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during an Amnesty International organised event, Jamal Khashoggi’s Assassination: The Open Secret in London on July 9, 2019, organised by the ALQST Saudi Arabian human rights organisation and the Diwan London organisation.

Khashoggi’s fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, has called for justice in his slaying, saying no one has been held accountable in his death. Eleven men are on trial in his murder, which is being held in secret. The trial began in January.

“What is so sad for me is not seeing the punishment of the perpetrators,” Cengiz told reporters through a Turkish interpreter, according to Al Jazeera. “Imagine that the entire world remains silent over Jamal’s killing. This silence and inertia created huge disappointment on my side.”

A United Nations investigator, Agnes Callamard, told Al Jazeera the investigation is a slow process.

“Accountability is not delivered in 12 months. That’s summary justice. True justice takes time, and I know it’s painful, but that’s the reality of the world we live in,” Callamard said.

She dismissed the trial of 11 men as a sham.


3. Khashoggi’s Last Column for The Washington Post Was About Press Freedom in the Middle East

Jamal Khashoggi’s last column for The Washington Post was published after his death on October 17, 2018. It was called “What the Arab world needs most is free expression.”

Karen Attiah, Global Opinions editor, wrote an editor’s note at the top of the story.

“I received this column from Jamal Khashoggi’s translator and assistant the day after Jamal was reported missing in Istanbul,” she wrote. “The Post held off publishing it because we hoped Jamal would come back to us so that he and I could edit it together. Now I have to accept: That is not going to happen. This is the last piece of his I will edit for The Post. This column perfectly captures his commitment and passion for freedom in the Arab world. A freedom he apparently gave his life for. I will be forever grateful he chose The Post as his final journalistic home one year ago and gave us the chance to work together.”

Khashoggi wrote in the column about the importance of a free press and misinformation that arises in a region where there is no journalistic freedom.

He wrote:

My dear friend, the prominent Saudi writer Saleh al-Shehi, wrote one of the most famous columns ever published in the Saudi press. He unfortunately is now serving an unwarranted five-year prison sentence for supposed comments contrary to the Saudi establishment. The Egyptian government’s seizure of the entire print run of a newspaper, al-Masry al Youm, did not enrage or provoke a reaction from colleagues. These actions no longer carry the consequence of a backlash from the international community. Instead, these actions may trigger condemnation quickly followed by silence.

As a result, Arab governments have been given free rein to continue silencing the media at an increasing rate. There was a time when journalists believed the Internet would liberate information from the censorship and control associated with print media. But these governments, whose very existence relies on the control of information, have aggressively blocked the Internet. They have also arrested local reporters and pressured advertisers to harm the revenue of specific publications.


4. Khashoggi was a Legal Resident of the United States When he Died & Earned His Degree From Indiana State University

Jamal Khashoggi was a legal resident of the United States at the time of his death. He was living in the country on an “O-1 visa,” also known as a “genius visa,” according to Quartz.

The O-1 Visa is granted to “Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement,” according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Khashouggi also earned his bachelor’s degree in the United States. He attended Indiana State University and earned his bachelor’s degree in 1983 in journalism, according to a profile from VOA News.


5. Khashoggi Met His Fiance, Hatice Cengiz, At a Conference & She Introduced Herself

Hatice Cengiz was a researcher and writer studying the Middle East when she met Khashoggi at a conference. He was a writer she had been following for about five years, she told The New Yorker.

She said:

On that day, I asked him about the agenda in Saudi Arabia—whether the political transformation there, which was being displayed as reform, would bring about serious change. Seen from the outside, some things seemed to be developing quickly, but at the same time there were many detentions, and so on. People who were very close to the Palace—emirs, princes, prominent academics, businessmen—were put under custody. I posed questions to Jamal about this process, and he answered them.

In return, he asked me questions about Turkish politics, and also about elections—there were elections in Turkey at that time. He asked how I, as a young person, would rate the actions of the A.K.P. When I was answering, rather than a dialogue between a researcher and a writer, it felt just like two people from different countries advocating the same things. We formed a kind of consensus during that interview. We each felt a connection with the other, and Jamal asked to see me again, during his next visit to Istanbul. Then, we met again and our relationship progressed.

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