Jamal Khashoggi's fiancée sues Saudi Crown Prince over consulate murder

James Rothwell
·2-min read
 A demonstrator holds a poster with a picture of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi outside the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul - Reuters
A demonstrator holds a poster with a picture of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi outside the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul - Reuters

The fiancée of Jamal Khashoggi has filed a lawsuit in the US against Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and other senior Saudi officials, seeking damages for the journalist's murder.

Khashoggi, who often criticised the crown prince in his Washington Post columns, was killed and dismembered by Saudi agents inside the kingdom's Istanbul consulate in 2018.

The crown prince, the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, has vehemently denied accusations that he personally ordered the killing, which the Gulf state has blamed on rogue agents.

The lawsuit will add more difficulties to Saudi efforts to move on from the October 2018 scandal and repair its relationship with the US.

"The ruthless torture and murder of Mr Khashoggi shocked the conscience of people throughout the world," states the lawsuit filed by Hatice Cengiz, his fiancée, and DAWN, the Saudi opposition group.

Hatice Cengiz, fiancee of slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, is seen during an interview in London - Reuters
Hatice Cengiz, fiancee of slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, is seen during an interview in London - Reuters

It goes on to claim that "the murder was carried out pursuant to a directive of Mohammed bin Salman", and includes a four-page list of other officials it claims were responsible'.

The lawsuit was filed in the US as Mr Khashoggi, a Saudi, was a resident of the country. It seeks compensation as well as "punitive damages" that would be decided at trial.

Saudi Arabia has already jailed eight people for between seven and 20 years for their role in the murder, but the trial was strongly criticised as it was held in secret without identifying the defendants. Ms Cengiz condemned the trial as a "farce".

Though he strongly denies any role in the murder, which he described as "a heinous crime", the crown prince told CBC News last year: "I take full responsibility as a leader in Saudi Arabia, especially since it was committed by individuals working for the Saudi government."

Saudi Arabia did not immediately respond to the allegations last night and whether it intended to defend itself against the lawsuit.