Fiancee of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi urges Biden to cancel Saudi Arabia visit
In an op-ed for the Washington Post published on Wednesday, Hatice Cengiz recounted how her late fiance, a columnist for the US newspaper and a vocal critic of Saudi Arabia's rulers, entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018 to obtain a document to finalize their marriage, but never left the building.
US intelligence services said Khashoggi was killed and dismembered in a gruesome murder ordered by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
During the presidential race, Biden had sworn to make Saudi Arabia a "pariah" state because of the murder.
However, his stance towards Saudi Arabia's rulers has softened over the course of his presidency - leading to plans for a trip to the Gulf kingdom next week in which he is expected to urge Riyadh to ramp up its oil production.
"You can imagine how shocked and disappointed I was to learn that you would break your promise and travel to Saudi Arabia to likely meet with the crown prince — the person who US intelligence determined was responsible for ordering Jamal’s murder," Cengiz wrote.
She also criticised the US president for his selective stance on human rights violations by different rulers.
"You condemn Russia for persecuting dissidents and committing war crimes in Ukraine. But the Saudis are executing the same horrific human rights abuses. Why are they being given a pass? Is that the price of oil?"
"I implore you to cancel your trip and uphold your promise to pursue justice for Jamal," Cengiz wrote.
Justice for Khashoggi seems increasingly elusive after Turkey dropped charges against 26 Saudis implicated in the murder in June.
The halt to the trial came as Saudi Arabia and Turkey held discussions to improve relations.