Killed’s fiancée Washington Post Columnist Jamal Khashoggi pledged to keep fighting for justice on Thursday.
His remarks came after a Turkish court ruled to halt the trial of 26 Saudis accused in the murder and transfer the case to Saudi Arabia.
Khashoggi was murdered in October 2018 during a visit to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to collect documents needed to marry Hatice Cengiz.
Speaking to reporters after the hearing on Thursday, Cengiz said she would appeal the matter.
“We will not give up just because the judicial process has now taken such a decision,” Cengiz said. “I will continue the legal process as much as possible.”
The trial in absentia began in 2020 after Saudi Arabia rejected Turkey’s requests to extradite the defendants.
But last week, Turkey’s justice minister agreed to the prosecutor’s request to postpone the trial, arguing that the defendants’ absence hindered it. The minister said the test could return if Turkey is not satisfied with the result in Saudi Arabia.
The arrest warrants for the defendants, including two aides of the Saudi Crown Prince, were withdrawn.
A Turkish court has given lawyers seven days to appeal.
In a separate trial, in 2019 a Saudi court convicted eight people in connection with the murder but did not identify them. The test was widely seen as a sham by the international community.
Cengiz’s lawyer, Gokmen Buspiner, told the Turkish court that several defendants in the Saudi case had been acquitted.
“We have filed a lawsuit in Ankara against the opinion of the Ministry of Justice. There is a request for a stay on the execution, and we must wait for the result,” Baspinar said.
Baspinar said Turkey and Saudi Arabia do not have a mutual legal assistance treaty, so the Khashoggi case will be the first transfer of a legal case.
Khashoggi, a US resident, was a vocal critic of the Saudi royal family.
A State Department spokesman, responding to the VOA on the background, said Thursday that the US “has become clear that the murder of Jamal Khashoggi was a heinous crime,” adding that “we believe that we have dealt with a tragic situation.” Important steps have been taken.”
The Turkish court’s decision comes as Turkey and Saudi Arabia, the two regional powers, are trying to mend ties.
Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), a US-based organization founded by Khashoggi, said the ruling “represents a brutal and cynical attempt by the Turkish government in favor of Saudi Crown Prince MBS. [Mohammed bin Salman] and the Saudi government.”
DAWN General Counsel Michael Eisner told VOA: “The Turkish government has completely closed the rule of law to political considerations, handing over the Saudi authorities who planned and executed Khashoggi’s assassination. “
In October 2020, DAWN filed a lawsuit with Cengiz in Federal District Court in Washington, seeking damages against the Crown Prince and more than 20 other Saudi officials allegedly involved in Khashoggi’s murder.
Eisner said the trial “represents to some extent the last and best hope of justice for Khashoggi’s brutal murder.”
A US intelligence report concluded that the Saudi Crown Prince “approved an operation to capture or kill Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul, Turkey.”
In a TV interview, Rajkumar said that as a leader he accepted responsibility for the murder, but he refused to order it.
way of justice
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told the VOA on Thursday: “The Secretary-General [Antonio Guterres] Jamal has been demanding accountability for Khashoggi’s murder.
But rights advocates say moving the case to Saudi Arabia means justice will not be served.
“It is a dark day for Turkey and its search for justice,” said Milena Byum, a senior Turkish campaigner for Amnesty International. “Khashoggi’s murder is a murder that has been uncovered with all the details. It was necessary to ensure that all those responsible are brought to justice.”
Justin Shilad of the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said in a statement that Turkey’s trial was “politicized from the start, but the decision to transfer them” [Khashoggi’s] It destroys any hope of arriving at an unbiased conclusion based on evidence in the case of Saudi Arabia.”
Turkish officials have repeatedly said they will pursue the case until the perpetrators are brought to justice.
Baum told VOA that “today’s decision was the opposite.”
“It has become clear that it will not be possible to get justice from here,” he said. “It is not possible to say what kind of result the appeal will bring, but I am not very hopeful.”
VOA Senior Diplomatic Correspondent Cindy Sen in Washington and Hilmi Hakaloglu of the VOA Turkish Service in Istanbul contributed to this report.