- Jamal Khashoggi first visited the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on September 28, and was calmed by the fact that employees there were so nice to him, his fiancée Hatice Cengiz told ABC News.
- He had been worried about getting captured and jailed like other Saudi dissidents in the past.
- The journalist visited the consulate again on October 2 – where Saudi agents killed him inside.
- Cengiz also called on Donald Trump to view Khashoggi’s killing “from the point of view of humanity, adding that “it should come before international politics and diplomacy.”
Jamal Khashoggi lowered his guard before his fatal visit to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul because officials were so nice to him at an earlier visit four days prior, his fiancée said.
The Saudi critic and journalist initially visited the consulate unannounced on September 28 – four days before his death – to request documents to get married, his Turkish fiancée Hatice Cengiz told ABC News, in an interview published on Tuesday. She made her remarks in Turkish, which were translated into English by ABC News.
He was wary about that first visit because he was worried he would end up imprisoned by the kingdom, like many other Saudi journalists in the past, Cengiz said.
“He thought of the possibility of them capturing him,” Cengiz told the network, referring to Khashoggi’s qualms before the first visit. “He didn’t want to face the consequences of his political views.”
But after he came out, he said he was pleasantly surprised by the “nice treatment and hospitality” from consulate employees, which encouraged him to visit again on October 2 to pick up the rest of his documents for his impending marriage. Khashoggi had been married before and was hoping to collect documents certifying his divorce before marrying Cengiz.
Cengiz said: “He was very pleased with their nice treatment and hospitality,” adding that Khashoggi had been feeling “homesick” and felt an “emotional connection” to home while in the consulate.
“At that point he mentioned how unnecessary it was to worry,” Cengiz said.
That trip, however, proved to be fatal: Cengiz had said she waited outside the consulate for 11 hours for Khashoggi to emerge, only to find that he never did.
Watch a video of Cengiz’s ABC News interview here:
Saudi officials has since admitted that the journalist died at the hands of Saudi agents inside the consulate that day as part of a preplanned murder, but fell short of naming the person or people who ordered the job.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is widely believed to have orchestrated the murder, though Riyadh has repeatedly tried to distance him from it.
Reuters cited Arab and Turkish intelligence sources last week as saying that the operation that led to Khashoggi’s death was coordinated by one of Crown Prince Mohammed’s henchmen via Skype.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s president, hinted that the Saudi investigation into Khashoggi’s killers could be an attempt to cover up for someone. It appeared to be a warning shot to Crown Prince Mohammed.
Cengiz also criticised the President Donald Trump’s reaction to Khashoggi’s killing. The journalist was a US green card holder and wrote for The Washington Post.
She told an audience in London earlier this month, according to Reuters: “President Trump should help reveal the truth and ensure justice be served. He should not pave the way for a cover-up of my fiancé’s murder. Let’s not let money taint our conscience and compromise our values.”
She also called on Trump to “look at this from the point of view of humanity and consider it an international tragedy, and it should come before international politics and diplomacy.”
Trump criticised the Saudi reaction to Khashoggi’s death as “one of the worst in the history of cover-ups” but refused to cancel a $US110 billion arms deal he negotiated with the kingdom last year.
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