LONDON: The fiancée of Jamal Khashoggi on Monday criticized President Donald Trump’s response to his killing, urging him to set aside US trade interests in the push for truth, and demanded Riyadh disclose more details to bring those who ordered it to justice.
The death of Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and a critic of Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, sparked global outrage and pitched the world’s top oil exporter into crisis.
Trump has hedged his criticism of Saudi leaders over Khashoggi, insisting he does not want to imperil a “tremendous order” of $110 billion of weapons he says will support 500,000 US jobs – figures that experts say are highly exaggerated.
His fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, told an audience on a visit to London she was disappointed with Trump’s approach.
“I am disappointed by the actions of the leadership in many countries, particularly in the US,” she said.
“President Trump should help reveal the truth and ensure justice be served. He should not pave the way for a cover-up of my fiance’s murder. Let’s not let money taint our conscience and compromise our values.”
When asked who was ultimately responsible for the killing, Cengiz told Reuters in an interview in Turkish: “This took place inside a Saudi diplomatic mission. In such circumstances; the Saudi Arabian authorities are responsible for this.”
Trump has said Prince Mohammed, who has consolidated control over Saudi security and intelligence agencies over the past three years, bore ultimate responsibility for the operation that led to Khashoggi’s killing.
She said the West is considered a stronghold of human rights and democracy so it should stand up to the killers of her husband-to-be.
Khashoggi, 59, entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 to obtain paperwork necessary for his upcoming marriage to Cengiz, a Turkish national. He did not walk out of the consulate. Cengiz first raised the alarm.
Saudi Arabia initially denied any involvement in Khashoggi’s disappearance but a Saudi official eventually attributed his death to a botched attempt to return him to the kingdom.
Later, Riyadh said the killing was premeditated and Prince Mohammed has vowed that the killers would be brought to justice.
Saudi Arabia has detained 18 people and dismissed five senior government officials as part of the investigation into Khashoggi’s murder. Some were members of a 15-man hit team, many of them Saudi intelligence operatives, who flew into Istanbul hours before Khashoggi’s death, Turkish security sources say.