24/11/2018 15:26 GMT

'Dad Was No Dissident': Jamal Khashoggi's Daughters Speak Out After Journalist's Murder

"It was vitally important to him to speak up, to share his opinions, to have candid discussions."

The daughters of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi have told how their dad “never abandoned hope for his country” as they paid tribute to him following his murder.

In a piece for the Washington Post, their late father’s paper, Noha and Razan Jamal Khashoggi spoke of their memories of the 59-year-old, who was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

He had gone to collect documents that would allow him to marry his fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, as she waited outside.

He never returned and in the following weeks, various accounts emerged from the Saudis of the events following his disappearance, sparking international condemnation.

After denying it for weeks, the kingdom admitted last month that the journalist had been murdered.

The sisters wrote of Khashoggi: “It was vitally important to him to speak up, to share his opinions, to have candid discussions. And writing was not just a job; it was a compulsion.

“It was ingrained into the core of his identity, and it truly kept him alive. Now, his words keep his spirit with us, and we are grateful for that. They say, ‘Here was a man who truly lived life to the fullest’.”

Hatice Cengiz, Jamal Khashoggi's fiancee

Khashoggi was an outspoken critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and in 2017 left the kingdom for the United States in a self-imposed exile.

He continued to write for the Washington Post until his death.

The sisters told of a “deafening absence” as they returned to their dad’s home in Virginia after his murder, and added that their piece was not a eulogy, “for that would confer a state of closure”.

“Rather, this is a promise that his light will never fade, that his legacy will be preserved within us.

“Baba said it best: ‘Some depart to remain,’ which rings true today. We feel blessed to have been raised with his moral compass, his respect for knowledge and truth, and his love.

“Until we meet again in the next life,” they added.

Saudi prosecutors say a 15-man team sent to Istanbul exceeded its authority when the lead negotiator in the team decided to kill Khashoggi for refusing orders to return.

The Saudis say the agents dismembered his body, which has not been found. The kingdom says it will pursue the death penalty for five of the suspects charged with his killing.

King Salman and the Crown Prince both deny any knowledge of the planning or execution of the killing.