The widow of slain Saudi journalist and dissident Jamal Khashoggi has been granted political asylum in the US, according to reports.
Hanan Elatr feared for her safety and came to the US in August 2020 when she sought asylum after her husband died two years earlier. Khashoggi, an internationally known and respected journalist, was killed by Saudi officials after publicly criticizing the crown prince’s harsh methods of silencing his opponents and critics.
Elatr was granted indefinite asylum status on November 28, more than three years after she first applied, on the grounds that her life would be in danger if she returned to her native Egypt or the United Arab Emirates (UAE), her home country . since 25 years, according to the BBC.
“We won,” Elatre told the BBC. “Yes, they took Jamal’s life and ruined my life, but we won.”
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Elatr told US authorities in her asylum application that Egypt had arrested and mistreated her family and confiscated their passports because of her relationship with Khashoggi, according to the Washington Post, the same publication where Khashoggi worked.
She said that in 2018, four months before Khashoggi’s murder, the United Arab Emirates arrested and interrogated her and put military-grade spyware on her seized phones.
“I couldn’t really believe it,” Elatre told the Washington Post. “I said, ‘Is this true?’ I couldn’t digest it.” He said the ruling “shows there is a victim who is still alive.”
Her lawyer told the BBC that Elatre expressed her gratitude to President Biden and his administration and said she was “relieved to feel fear”.
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Her late husband was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018.
A team of 15 Saudi agents had flown to Turkey to meet Khashoggi inside the consulate for his appointment to collect documents that would allow him to marry his Turkish fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, who was waiting outside. Khashoggi had married Ellatr in Virginia four months earlier in an Islamic ceremony, and the documents he requested were to prove he had divorced two previous wives in Saudi Arabia, according to the Independent.
The team of Saudi agents included a medical examiner, intelligence and security officers and people working directly for the crown prince’s office, according to Agnes Callamard, who investigated the assassination for the United Nations.
Turkish officials claim Khashoggi was killed and then dismembered with a bone saw inside the consulate. Turkey had apparently bugged the Saudi consulate and shared the audio of the assassination with the CIA, among others.
In 2021, the Biden administration declassified a report accusing Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of authorizing the operation to capture or kill Khashoggi, despite the country’s assertion that he was not directly involved. The Biden administration said the Saudi crown prince’s official position should grant him immunity from lawsuits over his alleged role in the brutal killing.
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Before his assassination, Khashoggi had written critically about Mohammed bin Salman in a Washington Post column.
He also founded Democracy for the Arab World Now, an organization that aims to push for democratic and human rights reform in Saudi Arabia and across the Arab world.
Khashoggi lived in exile in the United States for about a year as Prince Mohammed oversaw a crackdown in Saudi Arabia on human rights activists, writers and critics of the kingdom’s devastating war in Yemen.
Fox News’ Greg Norman contributed to this report.