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Friends Of Journalist Jamal Khashoggi Make Fresh Calls For Justice In His Killing


There were fresh calls today for justice in the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. They came from his friends in Washington and from the president of Turkey.


President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post. He said the order to kill Khashoggi came from the highest levels of the Saudi government. He called on the international community to reveal the identities of the puppet masters.

CHANG: Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 - one month ago. In a memorial service in Washington today, some who knew him called on the Trump administration to take action. NPR's Jackie Northam was there.

JACKIE NORTHAM, BYLINE: About 100 people - friends, politicians, journalists - showed up at a stately Washington hotel to pay tribute to Jamal Khashoggi. The memorial was organized by the Justice for Jamal campaign, which is dedicated to bringing those responsible for Khashoggi's death to justice. His Turkish fiance, Hatice Cengiz, sent a recorded tribute. She urged the Trump administration to work with Turkish authorities and to help find Khashoggi's body. Cengiz spoke through an interpreter.


HATICE CENGIZ: (Through interpreter) I would like to say to Jamal's influential friends that, even though a month has passed since Jamal's murder, his body has still not been given to his loved ones. And his funeral prayer has still not taken place. And our pain is still as fresh as the first day.

NORTHAM: One of the campaign's founders, Ahmed Bedier, called Khashoggi a reformer who believed in freedom of speech and rule of law, especially in his own country Saudi Arabia.


AHMED BEDIER: He wanted a better Saudi Arabia. Jamal spoke truth to power. He believed in decency, humility and humanity. On the other hand, his killers believed in ruthless pursuit of power - in savagery, barbarism and arrogance.

NORTHAM: So far, Saudi Arabia says it's arrested 18 citizens for Khashoggi's death. The Trump administration, which says it has a multibillion dollar arms agreement with Saudi Arabia, is still investigating the incident. Bedier urged the administration to get to the bottom of Khashoggi's death.


BEDIER: We can't let the criminals behind this off the hook. We can't ignore it because we want to sell more weapons - because what does that say about our country and what we stand for? We have to do the right thing.

NORTHAM: Nihad Awad, a close friend of Khashoggi's for 25 years, says Saudi Arabia's effort to silence the journalist's criticism of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman backfired.


NIHAD AWAD: They miscalculated badly. Your voice is heard louder than ever. Despite the fact that they spent billions of dollars to project a false image of reform and modernity, their names will be associated with crime.

NORTHAM: None of Khashoggi's four children attended today's memorial. They're all now in the U.S. but have been keeping a low profile. Jackie Northam, NPR News, Washington.

(SOUNDBITE OF THE ALBUM LEAF'S "RED EYE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Jackie Northam is NPR's International Affairs Correspondent. She is a veteran journalist who has spent three decades reporting on conflict, geopolitics, and life across the globe - from the mountains of Afghanistan and the desert sands of Saudi Arabia, to the gritty prison camp at Guantanamo Bay and the pristine beauty of the Arctic.
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