Jamal Khashoggi fiancée speaks out over fears for disappeared writer's safety

Jamal Khashoggi fiancée speaks out over fears for disappeared writer's safety
'I ask the Saudi authorities, where is your citizen?': Hadice Cenjiz demands, as fears for grow for the welfare of the vanished Saudi journalist.
3 min read
05 October, 2018
The Turkish fiancée of a veteran Saudi journalist and regime critic Jamal Khashoggi spoke out on Twitter on Friday demanding information on his mysterious disappearance.

"Three days since his disappearance… Here I ask the Turkish government, as any normal person would, 'where' is Mr Jamal? And I ask the Saudi authorities, where is your citizen?" Hatice Cengiz tweeted in the early hours of Saturday.

She also encouraged a global show of solidarity with Khashoggi, thought to have been kidnapped by the Saudi authorities, in the form of demonstrations outside Saudi embassies across the globe, demanding the release of the journalist.

Jamal Khashoggi, who writes opinion pieces for the Washington Post, has not been seen since entering the Saudi consulate building in Istanbul on Tuesday 2 October, where he was to receive an official document for the couple's marriage.

"I haven't received any news from him since 1pm (10am GMT) on Tuesday," 36-year-old Hatice said outside the sealed-off consulate on Wednesday.

She said Khashoggi had left his mobile phone with her.

"We want to know his whereabouts. Where is Jamal?" Hatice said.

"Right now we have no information. As a missing person, he is in danger," she told the frenzy of reporters gathered at the consulate.

Turkey has said Khashoggi is still in the consulate, where as the Saudi authorities insist he left the building.

Khashoggi, a former government adviser who went into self-imposed exile in the US last year to avoid possible arrest, has been critical of some of the policies of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Riyadh's intervention in the war in Yemen.

"We want him to come out of the consulate safe and sound," Hatice, who declined to give her family name, told AFP. "The same way as he came to Turkey."

'Very concerned'

The Turkish Arab Media Organisation (TAM) has issued a statement about the disappearance of Khashoggi, saying they have been in contact with the Saudi consulate and ambassador about his whereabouts, but have not received a "satisfactory or clear" response.

"Although we believe Khashoggi is being welcomed as a guest, we demand his immediate release from the consulate building in Istanbul or at the location he has been taken to," the TAM said.

Supporters have organised a tweet storm to raise awareness of the journalist on social media, for 9pm Mecca time.

International media groups have also spoken out in support of Khashoggi.

The Washington Post's international opinions editor Eli Lopez said in a statement on Tuesday that the newspaper was "very concerned" about Khashoggi.

"We are monitoring the situation closely, trying to gather more information. It would be unfair and outrageous if he has been detained for his work as a journalist and commentator."

The US State Department said it was investigating the matter.

Hatice appealed to the Turkish government to use all diplomatic channels to find her fiance. "It is a problematic country," she said, referring to Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia, which ranks 169th out of 180 on the World Press Freedom Index issued by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), has embarked on a modernisation campaign since the 2017 appointment of Prince Mohammed as heir to the throne.

But the much lauded "reforms" made by the ultra-conservative kingdom, have now been shown to be little more than a cover for growing authoritarianism.

"He is a well-known writer, an internationally recognised writer not only in the United States but in Germany, Britain and the European Union," said Hatice.

Khashoggi once said that before he left the kingdom, the Saudi government banned him from Twitter "when I cautioned against an overly enthusiastic embrace of then-president-elect Donald Trump".

Agencies contributed to this report