‘He mustn’t be allowed to stain her memory with his presence’: Fiancee of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi condemns UK visit of Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman for Queen’s funeral
- Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman was invited to the Queen’s funeral
- Hatice Cengiz condemned his visit to the UK as a ‘stain on the Queen’s memory’
- Her fiance, journalist Jamal Khashoggi, was murdered in Istanbul in 2018
- The prince is said to have approved the slaying, but denies the allegations
- The Queen’s funeral: All the latest Royal Family news and coverage
The fiancee of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi condemned Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s controversial invitation to the Queen’s funeral.
She said his presence at Her Majesty’s state funeral would ‘stain her memory’ – a sentiment echoed by activists who say allows Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, known as MBS, is trying to ‘whitewash’ his human rights record.
The Prince ‘approved’ the murder and dismemberment of Mr Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul in 2018, a declassified CIA report alleged. He vehemently denies the claims and said recently that that the journalist would not be among his top 1,000 targets to kill, ‘if that was how we did things’.
MBS is one of the more than 500 foreign dignitaries and heads of state invited to mourn Queen Elizabeth II during the service at Westminster Abbey on Monday. A cast of controversial statesmen were invited to the affair including Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia confirmed on Saturday that MBS was travelling to London but did not disclose the details of his visit.
Officials have not confirmed the Prince will attend the funeral, but it is probable given this trip is marks his first visit to Britain since Mr Khashoggi’s slaying.
Approximately 2,000 people are expected to attend the Queen’s service on Monday, including world leaders, VIPS and members of other royal families. The televised funeral is expected to be watched by 4.1 billion people and analysts predict 2 million others will flock to the capital for the event.
The fiancee of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi condemned Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s (pictured in July) controversial invitation to the Queen’s funeral
Hatice Cengiz (right) criticised the Saudi’s ruler’s invitation to the funeral, arguing he was using a time of mourning to ‘seek legitimacy and normalisation.’ She is pictured with her fiance Jamal Khashoggi (left)
Mr Khashoggi’s fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, criticised the Saudi’s ruler’s invitation to the funeral, arguing he was using a time of mourning to ‘seek legitimacy and normalisation.’
‘The Queen’s passing is a truly sad occasion,’ she told The Guardian. ‘The crown prince should not be allowed to be part of this mourning and not be allowed to stain her memory and use this time mourning to seek legitimacy and normalisation.’
Her claims were echoed by advocacy groups across the UK who allege Her Majesty’s death is not the time for ‘authoritarian dictators’ to try and ‘rehabilitate’ their image.
‘The UK simply should not be welcoming dictators from states renowned for their atrocious human rights records,’ Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, of the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, said.
The Prince ‘approved’ the murder and dismemberment of Mr Khashoggi (pictured) at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul in 2018, a declassified CIA report alleged. He vehemently denies the claims and said recently that that the journalist would not be among his top 1,000 targets to kill, ‘if that was how we did things’
‘Although the leaders of Russia and Syria have rightly not received invitations to attend the Queen’s funeral, it sends a clear double standard to then welcome notorious Gulf despots such as King Hamad and Mohammed bin Salman, who continue to preside over appalling violations against those who dare to speak out in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.’
Activist Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, the UK-based director of advocacy at the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, reiterated his colleagues claims, saying: ‘Authoritarian dictators should not use the Queen’s death as an opportunity to try to rehabilitate their image while they escalate repressive campaigns in their countries.’
Similarly, UK-based Campaign Against the Arms Trade slammed Saudi Arabia and other Gulf monarchies for ‘using the Queen’s funeral as a way to – in their words – “whitewash” their human rights records,’ BBC reported.
In a report earlier this week, CNN Arabic claimed MBS would not be attending the funeral, citing his ‘fragile ego’ as likely having played a role in his decision.
Abdullah Alaoudh, a Washington-based Saudi dissident, told the TV network that MBS would be ‘seated behind other powerful figures’ at the event, which he would allegedly bother him.
‘MBS wants full acknowledgement of his power, his existence, of getting in the front row,’ Mr Alaoudh argued. ‘He cares a lot about these symbols and does not want to be humiliated.’
Additionally, world dignitaries have been asked to jump on shuttle buses to Westminster Abbey, as is standard protocol, instead of using state limousines or carriages.
The only exception appears to be US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill will be able to take the armoured Beast to the Queen’s funeral.
Some embassies have reportedly made as-yet unsuccessful efforts to request exceptions to the Foreign Office guidance.
MBS is one of the more than 500 foreign dignitaries and heads of state invited to mourn Queen Elizabeth II (pictured in 2013) during the service at Westminster Abbey on Monday
Approximately 2,000 people are expected to attend the Queen’s service on Monday, including world leaders, VIPS and members of other royal families. Members of the public are pictured filing past the Queen’s coffin as it lies in state at Westminster Abbey on Sunday
The leaders of Russia, Belarus and Myanmar reportedly did not get an invite to the Queen’s funeral but a number of controversial figures including Erdogan and Bolsonaro are coming to London for the service.
Chinese President Xi Jinping was invited but is not expected to attend. He instead sent Vice President Wang Qishan to attend on his behalf, China’s Foreign Ministry confirmed to The Wall Street Journal on Saturday.
Several British lawmakers, alleging they were ‘greatly concerned’ by the invitation to President Xi, penned a letter to the House of Commons calling for the invitation to be rescinded. They also strongly criticised China for its treatment of the largely Muslim Uyghur community.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi also declined his invitation to attend the service. India will instead by represented by President Droupadi Murmu, according to The Guardian.
PM Modi had delivered a speech on the day of the Queen’s death – hours before her illness was known – urging India to shed its colonial ties during a ceremony to renamed a street that had honoured George V.
The leader did however call UK Prime Minister Liz Truss two days after Her Majesty’s death to issue his condolences.
The Queen’s grandchildren (clockwise from front centre) Britain’s Prince William, Prince of Wales, Peter Phillips, James, Viscount Severn, Britain’s Princess Eugenie of York, Britain’s Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Britain’s Princess Beatrice of York, Britain’s Lady Louise Windsor and Zara Tindall hold a vigil around the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, draped in the Royal Standard with the Imperial State Crown and the Sovereign’s orb and sceptre, lying in state on the catafalque in Westminster Hall, at the Palace of Westminster in London on Saturday
The televised funeral is expected to be watched by 4.1 billion people and analysts predict 2 million others will flock to the capital for the event. He Majesty’s coffin, draped in the Royal Standard and adorned with the Imperial State Crown, is pictured Lying in State inside Westminster Hall on Sunday
Members of the public, wrapped in blankets, walk in line along The Queens Walk near Tower Bridge waiting to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth II as she lays in state within Westminster Hall on Sunday
Her Majesty’s close friend Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the billionaire ruler of Dubai, is yet to confirm if he will attend.
Before her death, Her Majesty was under pressure to ditch him after the High Court found he was responsible for illegal UK hacking of his wife’s phone.
A senior judge concluded that Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the horse race-loving friend of the Royal Family and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, committed a ‘total abuse of trust and indeed an abuse of power’.
The court found that he previously orchestrated the kidnap of his runaway daughter Princess Shamsa from Cambridgeshire in 2000. He also allegedly abducted her sister Princess Latifa when she too tried to flee.
Princess Latif’s best friend Tiina Jauhiainen told MailOnline last week that the ruler of Dubai must be snubbed by Buckingham Palace and the British Government along with Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud.
She said: ‘I don’t think a person with his reputation should be invited to the Queen’s funeral.
‘I hope we are not going to be seeing MBS [what the Crown Prince is colloquially known as] either.’
The Sheikh has yet to confirm if he will attend the funeral on Monday.
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