Good News for the Widow of Jamal Khashoggi

Hanan Elatr has been granted political asylum in the US
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 22, 2023 7:31 AM CST
Khashoggi Widow Granted Asylum in US
Journalist Jamal Khashoggi speaks during a press conference in Manama, Bahrain, on Dec. 15, 2014.   (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali, File)

After Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in October 2018, his widow has since feared for her own safety. Now, good news from the United States for Hanan Elatr: She's been granted political asylum here, reports the BBC. According to documents seen by the UK broadcaster, Elatr was given indefinite asylum status at the end of last month. "We did win," said an emotional Elatr. "Yes, they took Jamal's life and they destroyed my life, but we did win." The former Emirates flight attendant added, per the Post, that the decision "shows there is one victim who is still alive."

Elatr, who applied for asylum three years ago, has been living in the United States since, obtaining a work permit and holding down a job and apartment, her attorney, Randa Fahmy, tells the BBC. Elatr says that since her husband's death, it's been too risky for her to return to her native Egypt, or to the United Arab Emirates, where she'd lived for a quarter century, until her husband was killed. Now, thanks to her new asylum status, Elatr says she's "relieved from feeling scared" and thanks the Biden administration for "opening the door" for her.

"Hanan Khashoggi has the clearest case for political asylum imaginable, and I am happy that I could help her get this vital protection," Democratic Rep. Don Beyer, who has assisted Elatr, tells the Post. Fahmy tells the paper that her client is seeking compensation from the Saudi government for the murder of her husband, whom she married just a few months before he was killed (ABC Australia notes that the US believes the hit on Khashoggi was ordered by Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.) Elatr is also insisting that Turkey, where Khashoggi was murdered, return his phones so they can be examined. (More Jamal Khashoggi stories.)

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