1. My name is Hatice Cengiz. I am the widow of slain Washington Post editorialist Jamal Khashoggi, who was murdered inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on 2 October 2018.
Since that day, I have campaigned for truth and justice in the killing of Jamal, and for the international community to hold accountable those who ordered and planned the killing. I have delivered testimony to the United Nations Human Rights Council, the European Parliament, the US Congress, and various other national parliaments.
2. I lived in London around a year after Jamal’s death, in 2019. When I was living there, they followedme.
Recently, the Pegasus investigation showed that my phone was hacked in the days after the murder. I was in fear ater the killing for a long time. The shock and fear were not just for my own life. The murder changed my view of humanity and the world and the meaning of life.
Why I want justice for Jamal
3. Jamal lost his life. We must not forget what happened. This is what motivates me and gives me the energy to keep going. My energy comes from inside me, because I think we should talk about this issue. It’s a human issue, there is no meaning in my life if we forget about this. As individuals, we live a social life, a personal life, a cultural life, but there is also a responsibility that we have as humans.
I am not doing this to be an activist, not to become a celebrity. This case touches upon important values. It touches upon the protection of other people in Saudi-Arabia, for example in prison.
4. In some cases, States are quick to act against human rights violations by other countries and speak out. But at the same time, States forget these values when they want to. States are not afraid to use their power, for example via ambassadors, when they want to pressure another country.
Why are they then silent sometimes? Why do I not find an ambassador with me? They do not call me, they do not stand with me. They are silent when they want.
5. I want to keep public atention for the case, because everyone else is trying to make it go away.
The Turkish authorities were very good in the beginning and now they want it to go away.
The U.S.and the international community are precisely the same. The current atitude is: ‘We’ve already dealt with this, can we move on?’ That atitude is unimaginable with murder cases in national jurisdictions. Somehow people accept this when cases happen across countries.
People must not close their eyes. When this case is no longer in the media, it does not disappear. There has to be a consequence.
Steps and obstacles to justice
6. We have undertaken multiple cases to hold the perpetrators, and particularly the Saudi Crown Prince, to account.
There has been a criminal case and investigation in Istanbul, in which I am the main complainant. This case has been going on for a long time, and it is against persons in absentia. It is an important proceeding and has the potential to bring justice and lead to international arrest warrants. Some of the people involved have been charged, others still need to be – including the Saudi Crown Prince.
The Turkish authorities have severely delayed the proceedings, and are so far unwilling to charge the Crown Prince.
7. We have made many submissions to the United Nations, to national governments, to national parliaments and the European parliament. We have made appeals to implement sanctions, which States can do under their national jurisdictions. The United Nations also has the power to do that.
We also campaign to stop the cultural washing or sports washing of the Crown Prince, for example in the recent take-over of football club Newcastle United.
We will continue to do that for any other sports or cultural engagements he undertakes to to try to improve his tarnished image.
8. We also started a civil case in the U.S, in which the Crown Prince has also been served. This case has been challenged by Saudi-Arabia on the basis of immunity.
Across all of these cases, the main obstacle is that governments are reluctant to act against the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, someone who is perceived as the de facto leader of the country. He is not the head of State. He should not receive immunity.
This is not a crime for which you should get immunity. State authorities only focus on those lower down, when the Crown Prince was the one responsible.
States need to take action
9. The Turkish authorities need to speed up the process, they cannot delay it for this long. They need to get access to the information in the U.S. and present that to the Court, and issue an arrest warrant, in particular against the Crown Prince himself.
10. Moreover, governments need to implement sanctions to make sure he cannot travel around and undertake initiatives like buying sports clubs. They need to make sure that he cannot travel to their countries without being arrested and interviewed.
We cannot allow someone of whom even the CIA has established that he was responsible for this murder, to travel around and go unpunished.
The U.S. Court should start to consider this as a mater of urgency and provide compensation for the damages.
There should be reparations, so the persons concerned cannot get away with it. Governments should also make available all the information they have on the case.
11. The Saudi crown prince needs to be held to account. A man who is capable of these acts, should not become king. There are rules in your country, there is a law in my country, there are international laws.
People like him need to understand that the world has changed. People are calling me ‘brave’ or a ‘hero’, but I want to be a normal person. I should not have to do all these things to get justice.
Now, the community and the institutions should do their turn. The governments and their leaders, and not just in Turkey or in the United States. Everywhere.
I confirm that the facts stated in this witness statement are true.
Date and Place: 31 October 2021, Istanbul
Name witness and signature: Hatice Cengiz