Saudis preparing to acknowledge journalist died after interrogation 'went wrong'

16 October, 2018, 13:58 | Author: Teresa Adams
  • Jamal Khashoggi

"We are sadly and anxiously following the conflicting news regarding the fate of our father after losing contact with him two weeks ago, when he disappeared after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul", Khashoggi's family said in a statement published by The Washington Post.

A Turkish official and a security source told Reuters on Monday that the authorities have an audio recording indicating that Khashoggi was killed in the consulate, without providing further details.

CNN reported Monday, citing sources, that "Saudis are preparing a report that will acknowledge that Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi's death was the result of an interrogation that went wrong, one that was meant to lead to his abduction from Turkey". It said the Saudi government, which could not be reached immediately for comment on the reports, would shield the prince by blaming an intelligence official for the bungled operation.

President Donald Trump told reporters Monday that he was aware of the report but did not know if it was correct.

Turkish officials have said they believe he was killed, a claim Saudi Arabia denies. A day earlier he called on Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Saudi Ambassador to the United States.

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The case has provoked an worldwide outcry against the world's top oil exporter, with media and business executives pulling out of an investment conference next week.

Speaking at a trip to survey hurricane damage in Florida on Monday, Mr Trump admitted he had heard the reports of an imminent Saudi admission, but said "it's just a rumour of a report coming out".

The Saudis experts I speak to say what is not credible is the idea that 15 people would leave Saudi Arabia in two jets from Riyadh, fly to Istanbul, be associated or be around the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul without Mohammed bin Salman's knowledge.

Saudi Arabia is considering an admission that journalist Jamal Khashoggi died during an interrogation that went wrong, USA media reported on Monday (Oct 15).

Khashoggi - a Washington Post columnist - wrote articles that portrayed a very different narrative than the one pushed by the legions of Saudi boosters in the West.

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That frustrated US intelligence and diplomatic officials, who anxious that the Turks were citing the evidence as leverage to get loans from the Saudis. Democratic lawmakers criticized Trump for using the term "rogue killers". The new story could also defuse some criticism of the Trump administration, which has refused to back down from billions of dollars in weapons sales to the kingdom and as of Monday was still planning to attend a glittering Saudi investment forum next week. Saudi officials have been in and out of the building since Khashoggi's disappearance on 2 October without being stopped.

Khashoggi went missing on October 2 after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, to obtain a license to marry his Turkish fiancée.

"The Turkish crime scene investigators carried out searches in the consulate and took the things deemed necessary", a senior Turkish official said, after acknowledging the difficulty of collecting evidence 13 days after the alleged incident.

King Salman ordered the public prosecutor to open an internal investigation into the Khashoggi case.

Bahrain's foreign minister called for a boycott of the ride-hailing company Uber Technologies [UBER.UL] after its chief executive officer said he will not attend a business conference in the kingdom's ally Saudi Arabia.

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