Opinion | Expensive President Biden: Please don’t break your promise to shun Saudi Arabia


Hatice Cengiz was Jamal Khashoggi’s fiancee.

My life turned the wrong way up on Oct. 2, 2018, when my fiance, Washington Submit contributing columnist Jamal Khashoggi, entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul to acquire a doc that might legalize our marriage.

I waited exterior the consulate for Jamal, anxious and delighted that our new life was simply across the nook, however he by no means reappeared. As a substitute, he was cruelly tortured and killed. In keeping with the Central Intelligence Company, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman himself gave the order for the crime. Since then, the considered what occurred to Jamal and the main points of the struggling he endured have haunted me each day.

Within the days, weeks and years that adopted, I watched in horror as my fiance’s killers roamed free. As I fought to go on with my life, President Donald Trump disregarded the calls to carry Jamal’s murderers accountable, and he rewarded them with billions of {dollars} price of weapons. Calculating, chilly politicians can by no means be trusted to result in justice.

As I used to be on the verge of shedding all hope, it was your remarks as you stood on a debate stage in November 2019 that rekindled my drive. You vowed to deliver Jamal’s killers to justice. “Khashoggi was, actually, murdered and dismembered, and I consider on the order of the crown prince,” you mentioned, including you’ll make Saudi Arabia “the pariah that they’re.”

Extra so than by your pledges to diverge from the Trump administration’s insurance policies and middle on human rights and the rule of legislation, my hope was restored by your real decency and empathy.

President Biden, since then, I’ve found that now we have one factor in frequent. You perceive the way it feels to have your future abruptly destroyed by tragedy, simply as I do. In 1972, whereas on their approach to purchase a Christmas tree, a horrible automobile crash claimed the lives of your spouse and your toddler daughter.

I might see how that insufferable struggling influenced your political profession. It gave you empathy and the capability to grasp those that had been wronged. I believed that you’d be the one to comply with your ethical compass and do what is true. And on the day of your inauguration, I lastly skilled happiness and had hope that I might ultimately discover justice.

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You’ll be able to think about how shocked and upset I used to be to be taught that you’d break your promise and journey to Saudi Arabia to probably meet with the crown prince — the one that U.S. intelligence decided was chargeable for ordering Jamal’s homicide.

You condemn Russia for persecuting dissidents and committing conflict crimes in Ukraine. However the Saudis are executing the identical horrific human rights abuses. Why are they being given a cross? Is that the value of oil?

At a time when assaults on press freedom are at an all-time excessive, your go to will tarnish your popularity and ship a message to autocrats all around the world that they’ll imprison, torture and even homicide journalists with no repercussions.

President Biden, Jamal would ask you this query if he had been nonetheless alive: Who will defend freedom, democracy and human rights if america doesn’t stand as much as tyranny? In case you don’t confront those that make a mockery of those basic values at a time when the world wants principled management now, then when?

President Biden, think about your self in my place, making an attempt to maneuver on whereas figuring out that the individuals who killed your beloved are nonetheless free. Think about the trauma of figuring out that what occurred to your beloved can and can occur to another person as a result of the perpetrators know there will probably be no penalties.

I, together with a numerous variety of Jamal’s associates, had religion that you’d honor your guarantees. Your go to is not only a betrayal of your guarantees; it dangers emboldening MBS, because the crown prince is thought.

President Biden, when you go forward with this go to, I implore you: Please use it to assist these nonetheless struggling. Earlier than assembly MBS, demand the discharge of all wrongfully detained individuals, corresponding to Abdulrahman Al-Sadhan, the son and brother of U.S. residents, who has been tortured, disappeared and sentenced to twenty years in jail — all for the crime of anonymously posting satirical tweets.

You may as well ask for an finish to illegal journey bans, which have been abused to maintain critics trapped contained in the nation, the place their freedom of expression is curtailed. Ask about Loujain al-Hathloul, U.S. resident Aziza al-Yousef, and U.S. residents Salah al-Haidar and Bader al-Ibrahim, who’re all being held captive by journey bans.

President Biden, quite than serving to to heal our anguish and sorrow with justice and accountability, this go to will considerably compound our grief and hopelessness. I implore you to cancel your journey and uphold your promise to pursue justice for Jamal.

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