US Grants Asylum to Widow of Journalist Slain by Saudi Arabia

Hanan Elatr, the widow of slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi, has received political asylum in the U.S., according to a report from her late husband’s former employer on Thursday.

Following the tragic killing of her husband by Saudi agents in Turkey back in 2018, Elatr sought refuge in Washington. U.S. intelligence has implicated Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in orchestrating the assassination.

Upon receiving the asylum approval letter, Elatr was in disbelief, as detailed in the newspaper’s report.

Khashoggi, who had been a vocal adversary of the Saudi regime, relocated to northern Virginia in 2018. That same year, he and Elatr tied the knot in a religious ceremony in Virginia. Despite being married, Elatr continued her life in Dubai, working as a cabin crew member.

Khashoggi’s life took him next to Turkey, where he planned to wed yet another partner. His life was tragically cut short during a visit to the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul in October 2018 to obtain a document needed for his intended’s father, proving he had no current marriage ties in Saudi Arabia.

The aftermath of Khashoggi’s death saw Elatr’s professional life upended when she was let go from her flight attendant position in July 2020, two years post the incident. This job loss forced her to vacate Dubai, leading her to relocate to Washington where she concealed her whereabouts in her attorney’s residence for a year and a half.

In her plea for asylum, Elatr disclosed to the U.S. officials that her native country, Egypt, had apprehended her family members and seized their travel documents as a retaliation for her association with Khashoggi. She also recounted a harrowing experience from 2018, where the United Arab Emirates authorities held and questioned her, going as far as to install surveillance software on her seized mobile devices.

Elatr continues to pursue reparations from the Saudi government for the loss of her husband, her legal representative stated.,

The widow of a journalist killed by Saudi Arabian agents has been granted asylum in the United States, a significant development that underscores the ongoing concerns about human rights and freedom of the press. The journalist, whose identity is often associated with Jamal Khashoggi, was a prominent critic of the Saudi government and was murdered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, in October 2018. The incident sparked international outrage and highlighted the dangers faced by journalists worldwide.

The U.S. decision to grant asylum provides the widow with protection and the ability to live and work in the country, reflecting the U.S. commitment to human rights and offering a safe haven to those who face persecution. The asylum status is a legal acknowledgment of the risks she might face in her home country or elsewhere due to her connection with the slain journalist.

It is important to note that the granting of asylum is a complex process involving a thorough evaluation of the applicant’s situation and the potential threats they face. This move also has diplomatic implications, as it may affect the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia, especially in the context of discussions about press freedom, human rights, and accountability for the journalist’s death.

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