One month on: The Jamal Khashoggi murder case so far

Assassination of Saudi journalist inside the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate has drawn global ire, intense media scrutiny.

November 2 marks one month since journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed in Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.

The murder of the 59-year-old – a contributor to the Washington Post and critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, also known as MBS – has dominated international headlines and continues to provoke reactions worldwide.

As the demands for credible answers grow, here’s what has happened so far:

Friday, September 28: Khashoggi makes his first visit to the consulate hoping to obtain documents he needed to marry his Turkish fiancee, Hatice Cengiz.

However, Khashoggi, who lived in the United States in self-imposed exile, does not get the papers and is told to come back on October 2.

During those four days, a plan is concocted by a group of Saudis to kill Khashoggi when he returns, Turkish officials have alleged.

Tuesday, October 2: Accompanied by Cengiz – who waits outside the consulate – Khashoggi enters the building at 1:14pm (10:14 GMT), according to surveillance camera footage.

Cengiz has been instructed by her fiancee to contact Yasin Aktay, a close aide to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in case anything goes wrong.

Three hours pass before Cengiz asks consulate staff about Khashoggi, at which point she is told he had already left the building through the back door.  

CCTV video shows Khashoggi entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Tuesday October 2 [CCTV/TRT World via AP]
CCTV video shows Khashoggi entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Tuesday October 2 [CCTV/TRT World via AP]

Wednesday, October 3: Saudi authorities issue a statement confirming Khashoggi’s disappearance but insist he had left the consulate premises.

“Mr Khashoggi visited the consulate to request paperwork related to his marital status and exited shortly thereafter,” the statement reads.

A spokesperson for the Turkish presidency says Ankara believes Khashoggi “is still at the consulate as of now”.

Thursday, October 4: Turkey’s foreign ministry summons Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Ankara over Khashoggi’s disappearance.

The ambassador denies any knowledge about the incident.

Friday, October 5: MBS tells Bloomberg that Khashoggi is not inside the consulate, adding that he doesn’t object to Turkey launching an investigation and searching the mission.


“My understanding is he entered and he got out after a few minutes or one hour. I’m not sure. We are investigating this through the foreign ministry to see exactly what happened at that time,” the crown prince says.

Saturday, October 6: Reuters journalists tour the six-storey consulate in northern Istanbul where Khashoggi was last seen. 

“I would like to confirm that … Jamal is not at the consulate nor in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the consulate and the embassy are working to search for him,” consul-general Mohammad al-Otaibi tells reporters at the consulate. “We are worried about his case.”

Al-Otaibi says that while the consulate was equipped with cameras, they did not record any footage the day of Khashoggi’s disappearance.

A Turkish government source says police believe Khashoggi was murdered inside the consulate “by a team especially sent to Istanbul and who left the same day”.

Sunday, October 7: Erdogan says he remains hopeful about Khashoggi’s fate amid reports that the journalist may have been killed. 

The Turkish president says video footage of the entrances to the consulate will be reviewed and all inbound and outbound flights will be monitored.

Aktay, Erdogan’s adviser, says he believes Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate, adding that a 15-man hit squad was “most certainly involved” in the matter.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has pushed for Khashoggi's suspected killers to be tried in Turkey [File: AP]
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has pushed for Khashoggi’s suspected killers to be tried in Turkey [File: AP]

Monday, October 8: Erdogan says the burden of proof falls on the Saudis.

“We have to get an outcome from this investigation as soon as possible. The consulate officials cannot save themselves by simply saying, ‘he has left’,” Erdogan tells reporters in Hungary’s capital, Budapest.

US President Donald Trump says he is “concerned” about reports of Khashoggi’s disappearance. “I don’t like hearing about it,” Trump tells reporters at the White House. “Hopefully that will sort itself out. Right now, nobody knows anything about it.”

Tuesday, October 9: Saudi Arabia agrees to let Turkish authorities search the consulate.   


Wednesday, October 10: Turkish media outlets publish images of the alleged 15-member Saudi “assassination squad” and video of suspicious movements at the consulate following Khashoggi’s disappearance.

The Washington Post – for whom Khashoggi wrote – reports that US intelligence intercepted communications of Saudi officials planning to abduct the prominent journalist.

A Turkish broadcaster airs surveillance video of Khashoggi walking into the consulate and a black van leaving later for the consul-general’s residence.

Thursday, October 11: The identities of at least eight of the alleged 15 members of the “assassination squad” are made public.

Reports say all 15 men had booked at least three nights in hotels near the consulate but left Istanbul less than 24 hours after arriving.

Ankara and Riyadh say they will form a joint group to look into Khashoggi’s disappearance, and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu promises to share the results of the probe.

US President Donald Trump says even if Khashoggi has been killed, it is not enough reason to cut off arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

Unnamed Turkish officials tell Turkish and US media that there are recordings of Khashoggi’s final moments inside the consulate.


“You can hear his voice and the voices of men speaking Arabic. You can hear how he was interrogated, tortured, and then murdered,” the sources say.

Friday, October 12: Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Interior, Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Naif, denies allegations regarding the disappearance and alleged murder of Khashoggi, calling them “lies” to target the kingdom.

Meanwhile, major companies begin to drop out of Future Investment Initiative, an economic forum in Riyadh, dubbed “Davos in the Desert”, scheduled for later in October. Among them are CNN, the New York Times and the Financial Times.

Saturday, October 13: Turkey reiterates a call to Saudi Arabia to allow investigators to search the consulate. 

Sunday, October 14: Erdogan and Saudi King Salman discuss the probe into Khashoggi’s disappearance, while several countries call for a “credible investigation”.

Monday, October 15: Turkish authorities enter the consulate and later say they have found evidence that supports suspicions Khashoggi was killed inside.

Trump says “rogue killers” may be responsible for Khashoggi’s alleged murder.

Trump suggested on October 15 that Khashoggi's murder may have been carried out by 'rogue killers' [File: Reuters]
Trump suggested on October 15 that Khashoggi’s murder may have been carried out by ‘rogue killers’ [File: Reuters]

Tuesday, October 16: Al-Otaibi, the Saudi consul-general, leaves Turkey and heads to Riyadh unexpectedly, ahead of a search at his Istanbul residence by Turkish and Saudi officials.

Turkish authorities conclude their search of the consulate.

Trump, meanwhile, speaks to MBS.

Wednesday, October 17: Turkish investigators enter the home of the Saudi consul-general.

Trump says he does not want to move away from Saudi Arabia despite ongoing concerns about Khashoggi’s disappearance.

Jamal Khashoggi’s final interview

Trump cites the US-Saudi Arabia relationship in the fight against “terrorism” and promised US arms sales to Saudi Arabia as the main reasons.

As investigations continue, reports say Khashoggi was killed “within minutes” of entering the embassy and was subsequently dismembered by the hit squad allegedly sent to murder him.

Meanwhile, Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, is one of several high-profile figures to also pull out of the investment summit in Riyadh.

Thursday, October 18: Trump says it “certainly looks” as though Khashoggi is dead. 

Steven Mnuchin, secretary of US Treasury, also pulls out from the upcoming Riyadh summit, while several US legislators demand sanctions against Saudi Arabia.

Friday, October 19: Companies and organisations continue to drop out of the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh, citing the Khashoggi case as the main reason.

Saudia Arabia's King Salman ordered a restructuring of the kingdom's intelligence services after Khashoggi's killing [File: Saudi Press Agency via AP]
Saudia Arabia’s King Salman ordered a restructuring of the kingdom’s intelligence services after Khashoggi’s killing [File: Saudi Press Agency via AP]

Saturday, October 20: After weeks of denials, Saudi Arabia admits Khashoggi was killed inside its consulate on October 2. The news causes a wide range of international reactions.

Following the confirmation, 18 Saudi nationals are arrested for their involvement and five officials are sacked.

The Saudi king orders a restructuring of the kingdom’s intelligence services. A committee headed by MBS is instated to carry out the restructuring.

Sunday, October 21: A Saudi official tells Reuters that the team of 15 Saudis who were sent to confront Khashoggi killed him in a chokehold after “overstepping” their orders. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official said the team tried to intimidate Khashoggi but when the 59-year-old raised his voice, the team panicked and accidentally killed him.

In an interview with Fox News, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir defends Riyadh’s response to the crisis and says neither MBS nor any other authority knew of the plan to kill Khashoggi.

Several countries, international bodies and rights groups continue condemning Khashoggi’s killing.

Monday, October 22: Reuters reports that Saud al-Qahtani, a former royal court media adviser and top aide to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, orchestrated Khashoggi’s killing at the consulate after being beamed into a room of the building via Skype.CNN airs footage of an apparent Khashoggi body double who was brought to Istanbul by the Saudi team.

The man moved around Istanbul while wearing Khashoggi’s clothes before changing back into his regular clothes.

Hackers target the website of the Future Investment Initiative, posting fake image of the Saudi crown prince standing over a kneeling Khashoggi with a flaming sword.

Tuesday, October 23: Erdogan says there were strong signs that Khashoggi’s “political” murder was planned. He says Khashoggi was killed in a “savage way” and demands answers on what happened to his body.

The president also says three men from the 15-member team went on an exploration trip to Belgrad Forest in Istanbul and Yalova, a 90-kilometre drive south of the city.

The Saudi king and the crown prince meet Khashoggi’s son Salah, and his brother, Sahel, at the Yamama Palace, where they expressed their condolences. A friend of the Khashoggi family says Salah has been under a travel ban since last year. 

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met members of Khashoggi's family in Riyadh on October 23 [File: Saudi Press Agency via AP]
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met members of Khashoggi’s family in Riyadh on October 23 [File: Saudi Press Agency via AP]

Trump calls Riyadh’s handling of the Khashoggi case “the worst cover-up ever” and “a total fiasco”, while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says Washington will revoke all US visas for those involved in Khashoggi’s killing.

Despite many cancellations, the Future Investment Initiative economic forum in Riyadh begins.

Wednesday, October 24: MBS speaks at the Future Investment Initiative. He says the Khashoggi case was “painful” and that “justice will prevail”.

Turkish investigators receive permission to search a well in the garden of the Saudi consul-general’s residence, as efforts to locate Khashoggi’s body continue.

Footage shows that Saudi team scouted in Istanbul’s Belgrad Forest

The slain journalist’s son, Salah Khashoggi, leaves Saudi Arabia after his travel ban – in place since his father began writing critically about MBS – is lifted.

A bipartisan group of legislators introduces a bill in the US House of Representatives that will stop most US arms sales to Saudi Arabia in response to Khashoggi’s killing. The bill, however, is not scheduled to be discussed until mid-November because Congress is in recess.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman spoke at the FII, in Riyadh, on October 24 [File: Saudi Press Agency via AP]
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman spoke at the FII, in Riyadh, on October 24 [File: Saudi Press Agency via AP]

Thursday, October 25: The Saudi prosecutor says the assassination of Khashoggi was “premeditated”.

A vigil is held in front of the consulate in Istanbul by the Jamal Khashoggi Friends Association, who not only demand accountability for the killing but also appeal to leaders in the Middle East to respect freedom of speech.

Similar events are held in other places around the world, including Washington, DC, and London.

Friday, October 26: Turkey asks Saudi Arabia to extradite the 18 suspects thought to be involved in the murder of Khashoggi.

Saturday, October 27: Despite the Turkish request, Saudi Arabia says it will not extradite the 18 suspects to Turkey, adding they will face justice in the kingdom.

Sunday, October 28: James Mattis, US secretary of defence, says he met al-Jubeir and called for a transparent probe into Khashoggi’s killing.

Khashoggi's fiancee Hatice Cengiz has called for 'justice to be served' over his killing [File: Reuters]
Khashoggi’s fiancee Hatice Cengiz has called for ‘justice to be served’ over his killing [File: Reuters]

Monday, October 29: At a memorial in London, Cengiz, Khashoggi’s fiancee, calls for justice and demands that Saudi Arabia reveals the whereabouts of the slain journalist’s body.

Saudi’s top prosecutor meets his counterpart in Istanbul as part of the investigation into Khashoggi’s murder.

Tuesday, October 30: The Saudi prosecutor visits the consulate in Istanbul.

Turkish authorities receive testimonies of the 18 suspects arrested in Saudi Arabia, a source in the Turkish attorney general’s office tells Al Jazeera.

Wednesday, October 31: Turkish authorities say Khashoggi was strangled as soon as he entered the consulate, after which he was dismembered.

Thursday, November 1: Turkish Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul says his country’s questions on Khashoggi’s killing have not been answered by Saudi Arabia.

The US State Department, meanwhile, says the slain journalist’s body should be found and returned to the family as soon as possible. 

Source: Al Jazeera