Saudi Prosecutors Now Claiming Killing of Jamal Khashoggi Was Premeditated

Minnie Murray
October 27, 2018

Turkey's president says the latest Saudi explanation of journalist Jamal Khashoggi's death doesn't wash-and he's demanding answers.

Striking a defiant tone, Prince Mohammed told worldwide investors at a major conference in Riyadh that the furor over Khashoggi's killing at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul would not derail the kingdom's reform drive.

Also on Thursday, Human Rights Watch said that Khashoggi's son, Salah, and his family have left Saudi Arabia for the United States after a travel ban on them was lifted. "In the end justice will prevail", the heir apparent to the Saudi throne said. Al Qahtani offered to give Khashoggi a prominent job.

However, French reaction has been relatively guarded, as Paris tries to retain its influence with Riyadh and protect commercial relations spanning energy, finance and arms sales.

However, legislative attempts to halt U.S. arms to Saudi Arabia have failed in the past.

After more than two weeks of vehement denials, Saudi Arabia asserted Saturday that the journalist was killed in a "brawl and fist fight" inside the country's consulate in Istanbul -- without revealing the whereabouts of his body.

The CIA's Haspel heard an audio recording of Khashoggi's death during a trip to Turkey this week, sources told Reuters. The U.S. has always been Saudi Arabia's most important partner and Trump has made the kingdom the centerpiece of his efforts to isolate Iran.

The prince himself has faced global criticism, with many officials saying he must have known about Khashoggi's killing in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, allegedly by Saudi security agents, and some saying he may have ordered the killing.

"The incident that happened is very painful, for all Saudis".

Reports said intelligence officers intercepted seven phone calls from a hit squad member to Mohammed bin Salman's private office on the day Mr Khashoggi went missing.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday that the Saudi official will meet Turkish prosecutors during his visit.

Saudi authorities did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the remarks by Trump and the Erdogan adviser.

Trump's administration is facing rising pressure to act against its long-time ally Saudi Arabia and the president has appeared to be stepping back from giving Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman his full support. But the US president suggested responsibility lay higher up.

But Trump suggested that responsibility lay higher up: "Well, the prince is running things over there more so at this stage. He's running things and so if anybody were going to be, it would be him", Trump said. The event was attended by hundreds of bankers and company executives.

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