Jamal Khashoggi case: All the latest updates

Saudi Arabia has admitted Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside its consulate in the Turkish city of Istanbul.

Khashoggi – a Saudi writer, US resident and Washington Post columnist – entered the building on October 2 to obtain documentation certifying he had divorced his ex-wife so he could remarry. 

After weeks of repeated denials that it had anything to do with his disappearance, the kingdom eventually acknowledged that the murder was premeditated. The whereabouts of his body are still unknown.

Here are the latest developments:

Tuesday, November 6 

Egypt’s leader faults media coverage of Khashoggi slaying 

The president of Egypt has said media coverage played a “negative role” in the case of Khashoggi. 

“We need to stop and wait for the relevant authorities and judicial bodies (in Saudi Arabia) to announce the outcome of the investigations,” Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi told reporters on Tuesday. 

Last month, Egypt called for a transparent investigation into the disappearance of the journalist and warned against the case being used to politically exploit Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia and Egypt have a close relationship. The kingdom has given Egypt billions of dollars in aid in recent years.

EU urges Saudi cooperation with Turkish authorities 

The European Commission has called on Saudi Arabia to collaborate with Turkish authorities on investigating the killing of the Saudi journalist. 

“We expect Saudi institutions to provide all the information they have about the case and ensure that those responsible are brought to justice. This needs to be done in full collaboration with the Turkish authorities,” commission spokesperson Maja Kocijancic said on Tuesday.

“From the very beginning, we have been asking Saudi Arabia to shed light on the killing of Jamal Khashoggi through a full credible, transparent and prompt investigation,” she added.

In a non-binding resolution on October 25, the European Parliament condemned “in the strongest possible terms” the reported torture and killing of the journalist.

The parliament urged an “independent and impartial”, international probe of the killing, also warning that targeted sanctions could be imposed if Saudi agents are found guilty in his death.

CIA chief seen all evidence in relation to Khashoggi murder – source

A Turkish security source has told Al Jazeera CIA Director Gina Haspel has seen all the evidence related to Khashoggi’s killing.

The evidence proves the operation was carried out on orders from the highest level of leadership in Saudi Arabia, the source added.

Haspel was in Turkey last week to review evidence, before briefing US President Donald Trump in Washington, DC.

Turkish sources also said that Saudi Arabia would pay “blood money” or compensation to Khashoggi’s family and his fiancee.

Saudis tampered with CCTV cameras after Khashoggi murder: report

Turkish media have reported that staff at Saudi Arabia‘s consulate in Istanbul tried to dismantle security cameras to help cover up the murder of Khashoggi.

The pro-government Sabah newspaper reported that the Saudis tried to rip out the camera inside the consulate on October 2, the day Khashoggi was murdered.

They also tried to tamper with cameras at the police security booth outside the building.

According to the report, at 1am on October 6, a consulate member staff went into the police security post outside the Saudi consulate to access the video system.

Sabah reported that the staff member put a digital lock code into the system, which did not dismantle any cameras but rather was intended to prevent access to any videos showing movement at the entrance, including Khashoggi’s arrival at the consulate.

Al Jazeera’s Andrew Simmons reporting from Istanbul said that their attempt was, in any case, irrelevant because the police had already deciphered the coding and accessed the system, retrieving a copy of the video well ahead of the attempt of tampering.

“All of this demonstrates, according to Turkish officials, in terms of the … whole set of procedures, that there was an effort by the Saudi Arabian consulate to once again tamper with evidence,” Simmons said.

“This follows a pattern of leaks which demonstrate beyond any doubt, according to the Turks, that the Saudis weren’t out to investigate a murder, they were out to cover it up.”

Monday, November 5

Khashoggi’s sons appeal for return of his body

The sons of the slain Saudi journalist issued an appeal for the return of their father’s body and said they wanted to return to Saudi Arabia to bury him.

In an interview with CNN, Salah and Abdullah Khashoggi said without their father’s body, their family is unable to grieve and deal with the emotional burden of their father’s death.

“It’s not a normal situation, it’s not a normal death at all. All what we want right now is to bury him in Al-Baqi [cemetery] in Medina [Saudi Arabia] with the rest of his family,” Salah Khashoggi said.

“I talked about that with the Saudi authorities and I just hope that it happens soon.”

Salah Khashoggi on October 24 met the crown prince and King Salman in Riyadh to receive condolences along with other Khashoggi family members. Salah departed for Washington a day later, and his CNN interview was his first public comment since then.

He said King Salman assured him those involved in Khashoggi’s murder would be brought to justice.

“We just need to make sure that he rests in peace,” Salah Khashoggi said of his father. “Until now, I still can’t believe that he’s dead. It’s not sinking in with me emotionally,” he said, adding there had been a lot of “misinformation” about the circumstances of the death.

Salah said accusations that his father was a supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood organisation were not true.

Asked how Khashoggi should be remembered, Salah replied, “As a moderate man who has common values with everyone … a man who loved his country, who believed so much in it and its potential.”

“Jamal was never a dissident. He believed in the monarchy, that it is the thing that is keeping the country together. And he believed in the transformation that it is going through.”

Saudi human rights record in UN spotlight

Countries gathered at the UN in Geneva to review Saudi Arabia’s rights record as it faces a torrent of international condemnation over Khashoggi’s murder.

Monday’s so-called Universal Periodic Review – which all 193 UN member states must undergo every four years – is likely to also focus on Saudi Arabia’s role in Yemen’s brutal civil war. Washington, which has long backed the Saudi-led coalition, called last week for an end to air strikes in the country.

The Saudi delegation in Geneva will be headed by Bandar Al Aiban, who serves as the head of the country’s Human Rights Commission.

The delegation will present a report over the country’s efforts to live up to its international human rights obligations and will respond to questions and comments from countries around the world on its record.

Activists are urging countries not to hold back.

“UN member states must end their deafening silence on Saudi Arabia and do their duty of scrutinising the cruelty in the kingdom in order to prevent further outrageous human rights violations in the country and in Yemen,” Samah Hadid, Amnesty International’s Middle East director of campaigns, said in a statement.

“The Saudi government’s long-standing repression of critics, exemplified by the extrajudicial execution of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last month, has until recently been wilfully ignored by UN member states.”

A number of countries have already submitted lists of detailed questions for the review, including direct questions from Britain, Austria and Switzerland on the Khashoggi case.

Sweden, meanwhile, is planning to ask: “What measures will be taken to improve the respect for the freedom of expression and the safety of journalists in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia?”

Sunday, November 4

US to hold Khashoggi’s killers ‘accountable’ but ‘ensure’ partnership with Saudi Arabia

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has told Fox News the United States will hold all those responsible for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi “accountable … while ensuring the strategic relationship with Saudi Arabia”. 

Pompeo listed Saudi Arabia’s ability to “deny” Iran “the ability to threaten America and Israel” as one of the reasons to maintain a strategic relationship with the kingdom, whose crown prince is under scrutiny over suspicions of his role in Khashoggi’s murder.

The US and Iran face a renewed sense of animosity as a second round of sanctions on Tehran begin on Monday.

In May this year, the Trump administration unilaterally withdrew from a landmark 2015 multinational nuclear deal with Iran.

US President Donald Trump has warned of consequences for those responsible for Khashoggi’s killing.

However, the Trump administration has been reluctant to suggest severe sanctions, such as cancelling arms deals with Saudi Arabia, citing the impact on the US economy.

Saturday, November 3 

Rights group ‘renames’ street outside Saudi embassy in London after slain journalist 

Amnesty International renamed the street outside Saudi Arabia’s embassy in London as “Khashoggi Street” with a mock sign to mark the one month anniversary since the journalist’s killing in Turkey. 

“The whole world has been shocked by this grotesque killing and it’s vital that we don’t let the outrage fade away without justice,” said Amnesty International’s UK Director Kate Allen. 

“We need to see Jamal Khashoggi’s killers brought to justice – not only those who carried out the murder but those who ordered it and knew it was about to happen.” 

Writers, artists and activists call on UN to probe killing 

Meryl Streep, JK Rowling and Zadie Smith joined more than 100 artists, writers and activists in signing an open letter calling on the United Nations to launch an independent investigation into the murder of Khashoggi. 

Addressed to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the letter – which came on the international day to end impunity for crimes against journalists – was put together by Pen America, a non-profit that works to defend freedom of expression. 

“The violent murder of a prominent journalist and commentator on foreign soil is a grave violation of human rights and a disturbing escalation of the crackdown on dissent in Saudi Arabia, whose government in recent years has jailed numerous writers, journalists, human rights advocates and lawyers in a sweeping assault on free expression and association,” reads the letter

“The murder of a journalist inside a diplomatic facility would constitute nothing less than an act of state terror intended to intimidate journalists, dissidents and exiled critics the world over,” the letter reads.

Friday, November 2

Erdogan: Order came from highest levels of Saudi government

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said the order for Khashoggi’s killing came from the “highest levels” of the Saudi government but said he does not believe King Salman ordered the hit.  

In an opinion piece in the Washington Post, Erdogan said: “we must reveal the identities of the puppet masters behind Khashoggi’s killing”. He added that Turkey has “moved heaven and earth” to bring the truth to light.

“We are shocked and saddened by the efforts of certain Saudi officials to cover up Khashoggi’s premeditated murder, rather than serve the cause of justice, as our friendship would require,” Erdogan said.

After criticising Saudi Arabia’s consul general and the kingdom’s public prosecutor who recently met with Turkish officials, Erdogan adopted a more conciliatory tone, stressing that Turkey and Saudi Arabia continued to enjoy friendly relations and that he had “no reasons to believe that this murder reflected Saudi Arabia’s official policy”. 

The Turkish president again expressed dismay that Saudi Arabia has still not revealed who ordered the assassination, along with the location of Khashoggi’s remains or the identity of the attackers’ local collaborator. 

“Some seem to hope this ‘problem’ will go away in time. But we will keep asking those questions, which are crucial to the criminal investigation in Turkey, but also to Khashoggi’s family and loved ones,” Erdogan said.

Mourners hold ‘funeral prayer’ for Khashoggi at US memorial

Friends and mourners gathered in Washington, DC, on Friday to attend a memorial event for Khashoggi.

The service included a funeral prayer known as “salat al-ghaib” or “prayer for the absent”, which Muslims perform for the deceased when their body has not been found.

Khashoggi’s fiancee Hatice Cengiz delivered a recorded message at the memorial, calling on the Saudis to release information about the whereabouts of Khashoggi’s body so that he can be buried according to Muslim rites.

Others present at the memorial included Khashoggi’s colleagues, US politicians, rights activists and Saudi dissidents, including Abdullah al-Awdah, whose father, the reformist Islamic scholar Salman al-Awdah, is currently detained by Saudi Arabia.

Khashoggi’s body ‘dismembered and dissolved’

An adviser to Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said the team that killed Khashoggi cut up his body in order to dissolve for easier disposal.

Yasin Aktay, who was a friend of Khashoggi’s, told Hurriyet newspaper that the corpse was disposed of by dismembering and dissolving it.

“We now see that it wasn’t just cut up, they got rid of the body by dissolving it,” he said.

“According to the latest information we have, the reason they dismembered his body is to dissolve it easier,” added Aktay.

“They aimed to ensure no sign of the body was left.”

Meanwhile, a senior Turkish official has also told Al Jazeera the journalist’s body was dismembered and dissolved in acid.

The official also said that the Saudi hit squad that carried out the killing has done similar operations before.

Earlier, a Turkish official had also told the Washington Post that authorities were investigating a theory the body was destroyed in acid.

Netanyahu: Khashoggi killing horrendous but Iran a bigger problem

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called the murder of Khashoggi “horrendous” but said preserving stability in the region and confronting Iran were more pressing matters.

“What happened in the Istanbul consulate … should be duly dealt with. Yet at the same time I say … it is very important for the stability of the world, for the region and for the world, that Saudi Arabia remain stable,” Netanyahu said.

“I think that a way must be found to achieve both goals. Because the larger problem is Iran.”

Norway summons Saudi ambassador over Khashoggi murder

Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide said in a statement his country summoned the Saudi ambassador to Oslo on Thursday over the killing of Khashoggi. 

“We have raised the murder of Jamal Khashoggi and presented our point of view to the Saudi ambassador several times after it was known,” Soereide said.

“We underlined how seriously we take this issue again yesterday when he was at the Foreign Ministry for a discussion.”

Khashoggi fiancee calls on international community to act, prosecute those behind killing 

Hatice Cengiz, the slain journalist’s fiancee, urged the international community to take action and hold those responsible for the crime to account. 

“Today, I am inviting the international community to take serious and practical steps to reveal the truth and to prosecute those involved in a court of law,” Cengiz wrote in an opinion piece published by the Guardian newspaper.

“I am not naïve. I know that governments operate not on feelings but on mutual interests. However, they must all ask themselves a fundamental question.”

“If the democracies of the world do not take genuine steps to bring to justice the perpetrators of this brazen, callous act – one that has caused universal outrage among their citizens – what moral authority are they left with? Whose freedom and human rights can they credibly continue to defend?”

MBS describes Khashoggi as ‘dangerous Islamist’ in call with Kushner, Bolton

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (commonly referred to as MBS) described Khashoggi as a dangerous Islamist after his disappearance in a phone call with Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and National Security Adviser John Bolton, the Washington Post reported on Thursday. 

During the alleged phone call, which took place prior to Saudi Arabia admitting to the killing of Khashoggi, bin Salman said the journalist belonged to the Muslim Brotherhood, which was outlawed by Saudi Arabia and its allies in the wake of the Arab Spring protests. 

He also urged Kushner and Bolton to preserve the US-Saudi alliance. 

“The attempt to criticise Khashoggi in private,” the Post noted, “stands in contrast to the Saudi government’s later public statements decrying his death as a ‘terrible mistake’ and ‘terrible tragedy'”.

The slain journalist’s family issued a statement to the paper denying the crown prince’s characterisation as inaccurate. 

“Jamal Khashoggi was not a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. He denied such claims repeatedly over the past several years,” the family said, “Jamal Khashoggi was not a dangerous person in any way possible.”

“To claim otherwise would be ridiculous.”

Gates Foundation suspends work with Saudi crown prince’s charity 

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is suspending future projects with the Misk Foundation, a non-profit chaired by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. 

“Jamal Khashoggi’s abduction and murder are extremely troubling,” a spokeswoman for the foundation told the Wall Street Journal. 

“The current situation was a factor in our decision to hold off on future rounds.” 

The Gates Foundation agreed to fund half of a $10 million project with its Saudi partner, dubbed the “Misk Grand Challenges”. The project aims to give grants to young people around the world for health and development initiatives. 

The Gates Foundation, which has completed the first round of $1.5m in funding, said it will honour its obligations to projects already underway. 

Thursday, November 1

US says Khashoggi’s remains should be located

The US State Department has said the slain journalist’s body should be found and returned to their family as soon as possible. 

The comments came after State Secretary Mike Pompeo said in a radio interview “that the murder of Jamal Khashoggi is completely unacceptable. It’s out of bounds; it’s not the way nations behave.”

Pompeo said it would take a “handful more weeks” before the US has enough evidence to impose sanctions in response to the killing.

He also pointed to a “long-time, deep set of strategic relationships,” including Saudi Arabia’s petroleum production and countering Iranian expansion in the region, as “important American national security interests”.

Saudi authorities did not respond to questions over Khashoggi killing: Turkey’s justice minister

Turkish Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul said his country’s questions on the killing of Khashoggi on October 2 have not been answered by Saudi Arabia.

Speaking in the capital, Ankara, Gul demanded close cooperation from Saudi authorities to uncover details of the famed critic’s killing inside the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul.

He reiterated that responsibility for the criminal act is “unavoidable” and cannot be “covered up” and said Khashoggi’s body hasn’t been found yet. 

Pressure grows on UK to sanction Saudi Arabia

The UK’s foreign secretary was pressed by a select committee on how to deal with Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi’s killing.

Jeremy Hunt called the murder appalling and said it highlighted the threat to journalists.

“If these stories are true – as they’ve been reported – it is nothing short of utterly and totally shocking… There will be an impact on the relationship with Saudi Arabia,” Hunt told the committee.

“It has brought into sharp focus that we cannot take for granted media freedom.”

He said it was possible Khashoggi’s killing has given the United States and the United Kingdom the opportunity to push Saudi Arabia to improve its human rights record.

“It is because we have that strategic relationship with Saudi Arabia, because America has that relationship, that we are in a position to ask them to do things we couldn’t do if we didn’t have that relationship. And so now what we need to do is use that relationship to push for progress,” he later told the BBC.

“It is too early to say there are green shoots. There are still terrible things happening every day. The humanitarian situation is truly appalling. But there is an opportunity now and we must grasp it.”

Wednesday, October 31

Turkey’s ruling AK Party says Khashoggi killing not possible without orders from above 

A spokesperson for President Erdogan’s AK Party said Khashoggi’s killing could not have been made possible without orders from someone in a senior position. 

Omar Celik told reporters in Ankara that Turkey would not let anyone cover up Khashoggi’s killing, adding that it was not possible for Saudi officials to still not know of the body’s whereabouts.  

Khashoggi was strangled after entering consulate: Turkish prosecutor 

Jamal Khashoggi was strangled as soon as he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and then dismembered as part of a premeditated plan, Turkey’s chief prosecutor said on Wednesday, making details of the murder public for the first time.

The revelations came just hours after Saudi Arabia’s chief prosecutor left Istanbul, and the Turkish prosecutor’s office said it was “obliged” to reveal the details after the talks produced “no concrete results”.

Gruesome reports in the Turkish media had previously alleged that Khashoggi, a 59-year-old Washington Post contributor critical of the powerful Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, had been killed and cut into pieces by a team sent from Riyadh to silence him. His body has not been found.

“In accordance with plans made in advance, the victim, Jamal Khashoggi, was strangled to death immediately after entering the Consulate General of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, for marriage formalities,” said a statement from the office of Istanbul chief prosecutor Irfan Fidan.

“The victim’s body was dismembered and destroyed following his death by suffocation – again, in line with advance plans,” it added.

“Despite our well-intentioned efforts to reveal the truth, no concrete results have come out of those meetings.”  

Saudi prosecutor completes inspection, heads to airport  

Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor has completed his inspections in Turkey and is heading back to Riyadh after he held three days of talks with Turkish officials as part of the investigation into Khashoggi’s killing. 

Saud al-Mojeb carried out inspections at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, where Khashoggi was killed earlier this month, and held meetings with Turkey’s public prosecutor and Turkish intelligence officials.

Saudi public prosecutor Saud al-Mojeb leaves the Saudi consulate in Istanbul [Kemal Aslan/Reuters]


King Salman’s brother ‘returns to Riyadh’ amid Khashoggi crisis

The only surviving full brother of Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has reportedly returned to the kingdom, amid an international outcry over the killing of Khashoggi.

Prince Ahmad bin Abdulaziz flew back to Riyadh from London on Tuesday, according to three Saudi sources close to the prince cited by The New York Times, in what some analysts are calling a potential challenge to the authority of Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

London-based Middle East Eye also reported Prince Ahmad’s return, quoting a source close to the prince as saying his return is intended to shake up the kingdom’s leadership.

Prince Ahmad’s arrival has not been officially confirmed by Riyadh.

Turkey doubts Saudi willingness to ‘genuinely cooperate’ 

Saudi Arabian officials have appeared unwilling to “genuinely cooperate” with Turkey’s investigation into the murder of Khashoggi, a senior Turkish official said.

“The Saudi officials seemed primarily interested in finding out what evidence the Turkish authorities had against the perpetrators,” the official told AFP news agency on the condition of anonymity.

“We did not get the impression that they were keen on genuinely cooperating with the investigation.”

French FM: sanctions against Saudi Arabia possible

France has not ruled out any sanctions against Saudi Arabia if its authorities are found to be involved in Khashoggi’s killing, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Wednesday.

“So long as those who are responsible and the circumstances around the killing are not made public, released and evaluated, we will go on demanding the truth,” Le Drian told RTL radio. “So far we don’t have it.”

“We’ll take the necessary measures against those who are responsible,” he said, adding that France didn’t rule out any sanctions against Saudi Arabia, which is a large buyer of French exports, including weapons and luxury goods. 

While criticising Germany for halting arms sales to Riyadh before investigations conclude, Le Drian downplayed the importance of weapons sales to Saudi Arabia for the French, saying they represented only 7 percent of the country’s overall weapon exports.

“We are not dependent on Saudi Arabia on that matter,” he said. 

Gulf investors sell $273m in Saudi stocks in October: Reuters

Foreign investors, including those from other Gulf states, were net sellers of Saudi equities for most of October, partly because of fear that Khashoggi’s killing could damage Saudi ties with the West and lead to economic sanctions, according to a monthly poll by Reuters news agency.

Gulf investors sold a net total of $273m of Saudi stocks between October 8 and 26, according to exchange data. However, the poll of 13 leading Middle Eastern fund managers, suggested that most funds do not intend to continue selling.

Twenty-three percent expect to raise their allocations to Saudi equities in the next three months and the same proportion to reduce them. September’s poll showed that 38 percent anticipated increasing Saudi allocations and none foresaw cutting them.

Many managers are still looking ahead to estimated inflows into Saudi Arabia of about $15 billion of “passive” funds next year when Riyadh’s market joins emerging market indexes. Because this money is closely linked to the indexes, it is unlikely to be affected by geopolitics.

Saudi prosecutor meets with Turkish intelligence agency

Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor held talks overnight with Turkish intelligence officials over the investigation into Khashoggi’s murder, according to Demiroren news agency. 

The Turkish news agency said Saud al-Mojed left his hotel shortly after midnight and went to the Istanbul regional offices of Turkey’s National Intelligence Agency (MIT). It is not clear how long he stayed.

StanChart pushes ahead with Saudi Arabia license application

Standard Charter is pressing on with its application for a banking licence in Saudi Arabia, despite the global outcry over Khashoggi’s murder.

“We have taken account of recent events, but conversely this is about running a business for the long-term and that process will continue,” Andy Halford, the bank’s chief financial officer said on Wednesday.

The bank announced in October last year that it was talking to regulators about applying for a licence in the kingdom.

On Monday, StanChart’s rival HSBC said it expected the Khashoggi case would have little long-term impact on Saudi Arabia investment.

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