Jamal Khashoggi married a woman in the United States and got engaged to a graduate student in Turkey just months ahead of his death in 2018. This was when he was living in exile in the United States after fleeing Saudi Arabia before he was assassinated on October 2, 2018.
Khashoggi, a fierce critic of the Saudi regime and crown prince Mohammed bin Salem was assassinated during a visit to the Saudi Consulate where he had gone to collect papers to prove he was divorced from his ex-wife in that country. However, no one knew of his new life in the United States, which has only come to light after the two women made the revelations.
His Secret Life
Khashoggi was lonely, sad and bewildered in exile in the United States but he got love in the last days of his life, which no one knew. He married an air hostess in the United States and got engaged to a graduate in the Turkey. And then he was suddenly killed one day while visiting the consulate.
Interestingly, even the two women in his life also didn't know about the existence of each other in Khashoggi's life. It was after his death that his Turkish fiancee Hatice Cengiz learned that he had married a second woman just four months before his death.
Egyptian Hanan El-Atr, a flight attendant for Emirates airline, told Yahoo how she and Khashoggi got married by an imam at a northern Virginia mosque in the States in June. "You will be the happiest bride," he wrote to El-Atr, to whom he had proposed, in a text message that spring. In another text Khashoggi wrote: "I throw myself at you, kiss you and delight you. I take out a watch or a necklace or perfume I bought for you to delight you."
The couple never received a marriage license to make their union legally official but Khashoggi had bought a pair of rings for $2,000. El-Atr still has that receipt well preserved. She also told how she met the Khashoggi on a flight nine years ago.
Khashoggi, who was a columnist for The Washington Post, was flying to the Washington and El-Atr was flying there twice a month, meaning they began to spend more time together. Soon they struck a chord over Arabic poetry and exchanged phone numbers photos and videos of each other.
They became a couple and Khashoggi invited her to his birthday dinner in March. Two weeks later he proposed. "He said, 'You sure you want to be with me?'' said Atr, telling Yahoo of Khashoggi's proposal. "He said, 'Because I have heavy luggage, I don't have a stable life.'"
El-Atr replied: "I'm with you, Jamal, I believe in you and love you because [of] the way you are." Khashoggi married El-Atr on June 2, 2018, exactly four months before his assassination.
Keeping Everyone in the Dark
Khashoggi's relationship with El-Atr has always been awkward for his friends and allies. His murder inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct 2, 2018, took place on a day he had gone there to get divorce records proving he was no longer married to his wife back in Saudi Arabia. Khashoggi was seeking those documents so that he could marry Cengiz, a Turkish graduate student with whom he was already engaged.
However, neither Cengiz nor El-Atr knew about each other presence in Khashoggi's life.
Cengiz had met Khashoggi at a conference when she had approached him for an interview. She told Yahoo that he was the most important journalist and thinker in the Middle East. Soon the meeting became frequent that led to a "very special relationship", Cengiz said.
Throughout the last year of his life Khashoggi kept in touch with Cengiz, giving her jewelry every time he visited Istanbul, and by the summer of 2018 they were speaking every day. He was also planning to buy a home in Istanbul, which he shared with Cengiz.
She told that during this time, Khashoggi never told that he was already married to El-Atr. But the woman's father had cast his doubts and has even confronted Khasshogi. "My father knows very well the Arabs get married more than [once] at the same time," Cengiz told. "It's a little bit of a sensitive point for my father."
Khasshogi may have reasons behind not sharing anything about his marriage to El-Atr, as he could feel the noose tightening on him. In the summer of 2018, a dissident friend of Khashoggi's living in Canada informed him that his phone and computers had been compromised by the Saudi regime.
Also, in early May 2018, weeks after they got engaged, El-Atr was hauled aside by security forces at Dubai airport. "They took all [my] devices. They came to my house. They searched [it]," she said. "Then they start to talk about Jamal."
In fact, she was also detained for 10 days by United Arab Emirates security agents who questioned her about her relationship with Khashoggi.
Khashoggi was killed and dismembered, allegedly with a bone saw, inside the consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018. His body was hacked to pieces and removed from the building, with investigators later concluding Khashoggi was restrained and injected with a large amount of drugs.
He was last seen on CCTV entering the building at 1:14 pm. The Saudi government denied involvement, claiming he was killed in a 'rogue operation' by a so-called 'Tiger Team' who were sent to persuade him to return to his homeland.