Report: Democratic Lawmaker To Bring Slain Journalist’s Fiancée To SOTU

Darren.Woon

Hatice Cengiz's presence at this week's State of the Union is meant to pressure the president into taking action.

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) is bringing researcher Hatice Cengiz, the fiancée of slain Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, as his guest to this week’s State of the Union, according to Axios.

A CIA report concluded in November 2018 that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing of Khashoggi in October 2018 in the country’s consulate in Turkey. The prince has denied doing so.

Last April, the State Department announced that it would ban 16 Saudi nationals from entering the U.S. over their roles in his death. 

As a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Connolly has introduced the Protection of Saudi Dissidents Act to hold the country accountable for Khashoggi’s murder. It would prohibit arms sales to Saudi security services for 120 days and every 120 days thereafter until the country meets specified human rights conditions.

The legislation would also require a report on whether Saudi authorities engaged in intimidation of harassment of the journalist or any individual in the U.S. and for the intelligence community to report on whether it fulfilled its duty to warn Khashoggi of an impending threat against him. 

“Hatice’s courage to sit in the House Chamber Tuesday night should serve as a clarion call to the President that no matter how high it goes, Saudi Arabia must be held accountable for the murder of this loving father and fiancée, respected journalist, U.S. resident, my constituent, and reformer,” Connolly said. “Congress has acted. Now too must the President.”

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