Fury as Saudi Arabia admits to Jamal Khashoggi's killing in consulate

Bessie Dean
October 21, 2018

Khashoggi was working to battle online abuse, and had wired money just weeks before his death to another Saudi exile, who was assembling a volunteer crew to combat the government's Twitter trolls, the Times reported.

United Nations chief Antonio Gutterres said he was "deeply troubled" by the kingdom's disclosure on Saturday, adding there needed to be "full accountability for those responsible".

An official Saudi source said on Saturday the kingdom's investigation had so far shown that the suspected killer had travelled to Istanbul to meet with Khashoggi to discuss the writer's possible return to Saudi Arabia.

The question is whether Riyadh's final explanation for Khashoggi's demise is enough for the worldwide community to move on from the grisly episode.

When asked about the Saudi announcement, President Donald Trump told reporters in Arizona "It's a big first step".

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was "deeply troubled" by the explanation, his spokesman said.

"To say that I am skeptical of the new Saudi narrative about Mr. Khashoggi is an understatement", Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican, said on Twitter.

Saudi Arabia admitted on Saturday (Oct 20) that critic Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside its Istanbul consulate, as world powers demanded answers and mystery surrounded the whereabouts of his body. (Khashoggi was a contributor to The Washington Post and other publications.) But the difference between this latest atrocity and Saudi Arabia's long history of brutally repressing criticism and violating human rights is one of degree, not kind.

Earlier this week, unnamed Turkish officials told media outlets they had audio and visual evidence to prove this.

Several of the 15 Saudi suspects who were in Istanbul when Khashoggi went missing have close links to Saudi Arabia's security forces.

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Samah Hadid, Middle East director of campaigns for Amnesty International, said in a statement that the Saudi version of events can't be trusted and that whoever is responsible, regardless of their rank or status, should be brought to justice.

A number of lower officials were also relieved of their posts.

It's pretty hard to cover up a state-sanctioned assassination that Turkish officials claim to have unreleased recordings of, though bin Salman has been trying.

He said: "I think it's a very important first step and it happened sooner than people thought it would happen".

President Donald Trump said $450 billion in investments are at stake as Congress raises pressure on him to punish Saudi Arabia for the presumed death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and he promised to involve lawmakers in any US response.

"Yes, he's not inside", the heir to the Saudi throne said.

Trump said he would withhold further comment until he speaks with bin Salman. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders issued a brief statement "acknowledging" the Saudi probe is "progressing".

The apparent circumstances of Khashoggi's disappearance caused worldwide revulsion.

The Saudi statements did not identify the 18 Saudis being held by authorities.

The state-run news agency also said King Salman has also ordered the formation of a ministerial committee headed by the crown prince to restructure the kingdom's intelligence services. "Now, a fight breaks out and he's killed in the consulate, all without knowledge of Crown Prince".

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