Lawsuit seeks reward for significant damages to be determined at trial
Hatice Cengiz, the fiancee to late Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, filed suit in US district court Tuesday against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the journalist’s grisly murder.
Cengiz and a rights group founded by Khashoggi before his death filed the lawsuit in Washington, D.C. District Court against bin Salman and over two dozen other top Saudi officials.
It alleges that Khashoggi was the victim of a ruse that began in Riyadh’s US embassy when he went there to secure documents to marry Cengiz.
It accuses bin Salman and Saudi officials of having “manufactured an opportunity to murder him” in which Saudi officials in the Washington Embassy told Khashoggi he could not receive the documents in the US, and would instead have to travel to Istanbul to get them at the Saudi Consulate there.
“This fatal misdirection took place in the United States and was part of the overall conspiracy intended to have a direct impact on Mr. Khashoggi’s political activities in the United States. Defendants and their co-conspirators orchestrated these actions with the intention of murdering Mr. Khashoggi,” according to the lawsuit.
Khashoggi was ultimately killed in the consulate in October 2018, and his likely dismembered body has yet to be returned to his family.
Saudi Arabia acknowledges its agents killed Khashoggi but blames it on a botched rendition operation that was executed without bin Salman’s consent, an explanation scoffed at by critics who doubt the killing could have been conducted without the direct knowledge and consent of bin Salman, the Kingdom’s de facto ruler.
The CIA determined with confidence that bin Salman directed Khashoggi’s murder.
The lawsuit filed by Cengiz and the Democracy for the Arab World Now seeks significant monetary damages, which it says should be determined by a trial jury.
“I am hopeful that we can achieve truth and justice for Jamal through this lawsuit,” Cengiz said in a statement. “I place my trust in the American civil justice system to give voice to what happened and hold those who did this accountable for their actions.”