Connolly to Bring Hatice Cengiz, Jamal Khashoggi’s Fiancée, to State of the Union Address

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Washington, February 3, 2020 | comments
Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA), a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, announced today that Hatice Cengiz, Jamal Khashoggi’s fiancée, will be his guest for Tuesday’s State of the Union Address.

“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,” said Connolly. “Congress has acted. Now too must the President.”

Jamal Khashoggi was a Virginia resident, a columnist for the Washington Post, and a critic of the Saudi regime. In October of 2018, he was brutally murdered and dismembered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey during what should have been a routine visit to obtain documents related to his upcoming marriage to Cengiz. The Central Intelligence Agency has concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, a subject of Khashoggi’s fair and measured criticism, ordered his assassination.

Connolly has introduced the Protection of Saudi Dissidents Act, legislation to hold Saudi Arabia accountable for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. This Protection of Saudi Dissidents Act would:

• Prohibit arms sales—regardless of the amount—to Saudi intelligence, internal security or law enforcement for 120 days, and for every 120 days thereafter until Saudi Arabia meets certain human rights conditions;
• Require a report on whether Saudi authorities engaged in intimidation or harassment of Jamal Khashoggi or any individual in the United States;
• Require the review and potential closure of Saudi diplomatic facilities if they are being used to surveil Saudi nationals living in the United States; and
• Require the Intelligence Community to report on whether it fulfilled its duty to warn Khashoggi of an impending threat against him.

Despite bipartisan congressional efforts to hold Saudi Arabia accountable, the Trump administration has continued to provide arms and military training to the Saudis. In June, Connolly successfully offered an amendment to the FY 2020 Appropriations Package that would bar Saudi Arabia from receiving assistance provided by the International Military Education and Training program.

In an October 2018 Washington Post OpEd, Connolly said Saudi Arabia must pay for Jamal’s murder.

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