Hatice Cengiz, the fiancee of murdered Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi
Republican Congressman Downplays Saudis Killing Khashoggi, Says Journalists Disappear All the Time Photo by Ozan Kose/AFP via Getty Images

The fiance of slain columnist Jamal Kashoggi has vowed to continue her fight for justice as a Turkish court suspended the trial in absentia of 26 Saudis facing charges in the killing. Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Hatice Cengiz said she would appeal and bring those responsible for the death of the 59-year-old Washington Post columnist to court.

According to Al Jazeera, Cengiz, who is a Turkish academic, told reporters that she will continue with the legal process and do whatever it takes. "We will not give up just because the judicial process has taken such a decision now,” she said.

In 2020, the trial began in absentia after Saudi Arabia rejected requests from Turkey to extradite all the defendants. However, last week, Turkey’s justice minister had agreed to a request by the prosecution to suspend the trial as the defendants’ absence had obstructed the proceedings. This could mean a possible return of the case to Turkey should the outcome of the trial in Saudi Arabia turn out to be unsatisfactory.

At the same time, warrants for the defendants that included two aides to the Saudi Crown Prince were lifted while the Turkish court granted a seven-day appeal period to lawyers. Cengiz’s lawyer, Gokman Baspinar told the court that many of the listed defendants in the Kashoggi case had already been acquitted.

Human rights groups have given a warning about turning the case over to Saud Arabia saying this could only lead to a cover-up of the two-year-old case. Cengiz reiterated her stand on this citing how Turkey was not ruled by a family like the way things are run in the kingdom. Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on the Turkish government to abandon the transfer plan after a US Intelligence report in 2018 had linked the killing to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

“The Turkish authorities should reverse their decision and not contribute any further to entrenching Saudi impunity by handing over the Khashoggi case to the very people implicated in his murder,” said HRW deputy Middle East director Michael Page, in a statement.

In 2018, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Khashoggi's death was premeditated and that the order to kill the columnist came in light of Khashoggi's vocal criticism of the Saudi Royal Family.

Hatice Cengiz, fiancee of murdered Jamal Khashoggi
Hatice Cengiz, fiancee of murdered Jamal Khashoggi, answers AFP journalists' questions during an interview on February 24, 2022 in Istanbul. - Turkey must keep insisting on justice for murdered Riyadh critic Jamal Khashoggi even as its ties with Saudi Arabia improve, Cengiz told AFP. Photo by Ozan Kose/AFP via Getty Images

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