The widow of Jamal Khashoggi, the Washington Post columnist who was assassinated in 2018 by Saudi operatives in Turkey, has been granted political asylum in the United States, the newspaper reported Thursday.
Hanan Elatr went into hiding in Washington after her husband was killed in an incident that U.S. intelligence officials concluded was ordered by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
“I couldn’t really believe it,” Elatr said about reading the letter notifying her she had been granted asylum, the Post reported.
Khashoggi, a prominent critic of the Saudi government, moved to northern Virginia in 2018. In June of that year, he and Elatr married in a religious ceremony in Virginia, but Elatr continued to live in Dubai, where she worked as a flight attendant.
Khashoggi later moved to Turkey and was arranging to marry another woman there in October 2018. He was killed when he went to the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul to get a document for that woman’s father showing that he was not married in Saudi Arabia.
Over a year after Khashoggi was killed, Elatr lost her longtime flight attendant job in July 2020. That meant she could no longer live in Dubai. So she moved to Washington and went into hiding in her lawyer’s apartment for 18 months.
Elatr told U.S. authorities in her asylum application that Egypt, where she is originally from, had detained her family and confiscated their passports over her relationship with Khashoggi, the Post said. In 2018, just months before Khashoggi was killed, the United Arab Emirates detained and interrogated Elatr and installed spyware on her confiscated phones.
Elatr is still seeking compensation from the Saudi government for Khashoggi’s death, her lawyer said.