Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos has joined activists and friends of Jamal Khashoggi near Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul and demanded justice for the journalist on the anniversary of his death at the hands of Saudi agents.
The memorial began just after 1.14pm – the time the Washington Post columnist walked into the consulate a year ago to collect documents required for him to marry his Turkish fiancee, who was waiting for him outside. He never walked out.
During the ceremony, activists called for a United Nations-led investigation into the murder and action to ensure the perpetrators do not go unpunished.
A sharp critic of the Saudi kingdom and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, he was brutally killed and apparently dismembered by a 15-member Saudi hit squad that flew to Turkey. His remains have never been found.
Turkish authorities, who had apparently been monitoring the consulate, recorded and later leaked details concerning the death.
Several questions linger a year on, including the whereabouts of his body and the crown prince’s possible culpability.
Agnes Callamard, a UN official who wrote a report into the killing, told the memorial service: “No one should get away with murder, no matter who they are or how high their station in life, no matter whether they raised the deadly fist or ordered the deadly blow.”
In her report released earlier this year, Ms Callamard said Saudi Arabia bore responsibility for the killing and Prince Mohammed’s possible role should be investigated.
Mr Bezos, the founder of Amazon, made a surprise appearance at the memorial and praised Mr Khashoggi’s fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, who paced a street outside the Saudi consulate for hours waiting for him to re-emerge last year.
“No one should ever have to endure what you did,” Mr Bezos said. “You need to know that you are in our hearts. We are here and you are not alone.”
Ms Cengiz told attendees: “I want those in power to be held accountable for their action.”
Participants later unveiled a memorial stone for Mr Khashoggi, bearing the Turkish inscription of his name, Cemal Kasikci.
Saudi Arabia says it is trying 11 people for the killing, but few details have been released. The trial does not include the crown prince’s top adviser at the time of the killing.
Prince Mohammed said in an interview this week that he took full responsibility for the killing but denied ordering it.