Here are the latest developments related to the Saudi journalist’s murder inside the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul.
Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi entered Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul on October 2 to obtain a document certifying he divorced his ex-wife so he could remarry. He was killed inside the consulate.
Turkish sources have told media outlets they believe the killing was a “premeditated murder”.
Saudi officials have countered that claim, insisting Khashoggi died in a “brawl”, after initially claiming he had left the building before vanishing.
Al Jazeera started a live updates page on October 10. Here are all the developments from October 10 to November 19:
France will decide soon whether to impose sanctions on individuals linked to Khashoggi’s murder, its Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has said.
“We are working very closely with Germany at this moment … and we will decide ourselves a certain number of sanctions very quickly over what we know (about the murder),” Le Drian told Europe 1 radio on Monday when asked whether Paris would follow Berlin in imposing travel bans on the accused Saudi individuals.
“But we believe that we need to go beyond that because the whole truth needs to be known,” he added.
The United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, has held talks with Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkey‘s foreign minister, over Khashoggi’s killing.
“They discussed Yemen, Syria, Cyprus, as well as the murder of Jamal Khashoggi,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters.
On a possible UN inquiry into Khashoggi, he said: “We have not received any formal request from the Turkish side.”
As Cavusoglu left the UN after meeting Guterres, he was asked if he requested an international investigation. “We discussed all the aspects of this,” he said.
Four prominent rights groups – Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the Committee to Protect Journalists and Reporters Without Borders – last month urged Turkey to ask the UN to investigate the disappearance of Khashoggi.
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman delivered his annual address to the kingdom’s Shura Council, a top governmental advisory body, following a nationwide tour with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
In the highly anticipated address, the 82-year-old monarch lauded his country’s judiciary and public prosecution for “carrying out their duty in the service of justice”, without directly referring to the killing of The Washington Post columnist, Khashoggi.
Elsewhere in the short speech, the king reiterated his support for the UN efforts to end the war in Yemen, and said that the Palestinian issue was a “top priority for the kingdom”.
The expected address came as members of the United States Congress renewed its calls to condemn the kingdom following an assessment by the CIA that the Prince Mohammed personally ordered the murder of Khashoggi.
Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas says Berlin has banned 18 Saudi nationals from entering Europe’s border-free Schengen zone because they are suspected to be connected to the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.
Maas told reporters in Brussels on Monday that Germany issued the ban for the 26-nation zone in close coordination with France, which is part of the Schengen area, and Britain, which is not.
He says “as before, there are more questions than answers in this case, with the crime itself and who is behind it”.
Maas says the 18 are Saudis who are “allegedly connected to this crime” but gave no further information.
In Berlin, his office said they were not able to release the names due to German privacy protections.
US President Donald Trump said on Fox News there’s “no reason” for him to listen to an audio recording of Khashoggi’s murder at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Trump confirmed the US has the recording, which was provided by Turkey, but told “Fox News Sunday” that “I don’t want to hear the tape, no reason for me to hear the tape”.
He said being briefed was enough and he did not want to hear the audio because it’s a “suffering tape, it’s a terrible tape” in the interview recorded on Friday.
The killing was “very violent, vicious and terrible”, Trump said.
Later on Sunday, Trump said Prince Mohammed, also known as MBS, told him directly he had nothing to do with Khashoggi’s killing. Trump also said he wonders: “Will anybody really know?”
Earlier, President Trump had said that his administration will release a full report in the next two days about the death of Jamal Khashoggi.
Trump told reporters on Saturday that the report will include information on “who did it”.
“We’ll be having a very full report over the next two days, probably Monday or Tuesday,” he said.
The US government has not reached a final conclusion over Khashoggi’s killing, the US State Department said.
“Recent reports indicating that the US government has made a final conclusion are inaccurate,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement on Saturday.
The statement followed reports in the US media that the CIA had held Prince Mohammed responsible for the October 2 killing.
“There remain numerous unanswered questions with respect to the murder of Mr Khashoggi,” Nauert said in her statement.
“The State Department will continue to seek all relevant facts. In the meantime, we will continue to consult Congress, and work with other nations to hold accountable those involved in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.”
The Washington Post says the CIA has concluded that Prince Mohammed did give the order to kill the journalist.
The American spy agency is not commenting on the reports. Meanwhile, the Saudi embassy in Washington says the CIA assessment is false.
If not, the CIA finding is the first direct confirmation of the crown prince’s involvement after Turkey said the order to kill came from the highest level in the kingdom.
Where does the finding leave Saudi-US relations? And where does it leave the fate of bin Salman?
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President Trump has been briefed on Khashoggi’s murder after a CIA assessment that MBS ordered the killing, the White House said.
Trump discussed the CIA assessment by phone with the agency’s director, Gina Haspel, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters on Saturday.
The CIA believes the Saudi crown prince, the country’s de-facto ruler, ordered Khashoggi’s killing.
Speaking to reporters earlier on Saturday, Trump had reiterated that he had been told that MBS did not play a role in the journalist’s killing.
“We haven’t been briefed yet,” Trump said.
Trump and top administration officials have said Saudi Arabia should be held to account for any involvement in Khashoggi’s death and have imposed sanctions on 17 Saudis for their role in the killing.
But they have also stressed the importance of Washington’s ties with Riyadh, even while US Congress members have called on the administration to punish Saudi Arabia over the murder.
US Vice President Mike Pence has said the US will hold the murderers of Jamal Khashoggi to account, following reports in US media that Prince Mohammed ordered the killing.
“The United States is determined to hold all of those accountable who are responsible for that murder,” Pence said on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Papua New Guinea.
The vice president described the murder of the Saudi journalist as an “atrocity” and an “affront to a free and independent press” but declined to comment on classified information.
Pence spoke after American media outlets, citing US intelligence officials, reported that the CIA had concluded that MBS was involved in the plot to kill Khashoggi.
“We are going to follow the facts,” said Pence, adding that the US wanted to preserve a “strong and historic partnership with Saudi Arabia”.
The CIA has concluded that Prince Mohammed ordered the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul, US media reported on Friday, a finding that contradicts Saudi government assertions that he was not involved.
According to the Washington Post, which first reported the CIA conclusion, US officials expressed confidence in the agency’s assessment, which is the most definitive to date linking MBS to the killing and complicates President Trump’s efforts to preserve ties with one of the closest US allies in the region.
Both The Washington Post and the Associated Press news agency cited unnamed officials familiar with the CIA conclusion.
The accuracy of the reports could not be immediately verified.
Read more here.
The “hit-squad” sent from Saudi Arabia to murder Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul planned out their assassination methodically, contradicting key findings from the Saudi public prosecutor’s office, a Turkish newspaper has reported.
Abdulkadir Selvi, a columnist at Hurriyet, said Turkish authorities had a 15-minute audio recording where the Saudi team could be heard discussing and reviewing their plan, and reminding each other of their duties.
Selvi said the strongest evidence of the premeditated nature of the killing could be heard in a seven minute audio recording he reported on last month. In that recording, Khashoggi’s “desperate attempts to survive” are heard.
Funeral prayers have been held in absentia for Khashoggi at the Grand Mosque in Mecca and Prophet Muhammad’s mosque in the Saudi city of Medina, two of the holiest places of Islam.
The prayer, known as “Salat al-Ghaib” or “prayer for the absent” (performed when the body of the deceased has not been found), was offered at dawn with the participation of Salah, Jamal Khashoggi’s son.
A bipartisan group of US senators introduced legislation seeking to punish Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi’s murder and the kingdom’s role in the devastating war in Yemen.
The move came hours after the United States slapped economic sanctions on 17 Saudis allegedly involved in the killing of Khashoggi inside the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul.
If the bill were to become law, it would suspend weapon sales to Saudi Arabia and prohibit US refuelling of Saudi coalition aircraft conducting air raids in Yemen.
Read more here.
The new measures, which follow travel bans already in place, freeze any assets the 17 may have in the US and prohibit any Americans from doing business with them.
“The Saudi officials we are sanctioning were involved in the abhorrent killing of Jamal Khashoggi,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Thursday.
“These individuals who targeted and brutally killed a journalist who resided and worked in the United States must face consequences for their actions.”
The sanctions will be implemented under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, which targets the perpetrators of serious human rights abuses and corruption. The announcement was unusual for Washington, which rarely imposes sanctions on Riyadh.
The move came after Riyadh’s public prosecutor said five out of 11 suspects are facing a possible death sentence in the case.
France’s foreign ministry has said the probe by Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor into Khashoggi’s killing is moving in the right direction.
Saudi’s deputy public prosecutor said earlier that Riyadh was seeking the death penalty for five of the 11 suspects charged in connection to the case.
“We ask that the responsibilities are clearly established and that the perpetrators answer them in a real trial,” Agnes von der Muhll, France’s foreign ministry spokesperson, told reporters in a daily briefing.
“The Saudi authorities’ announcement that the 18 people arrested in connection with the investigation goes in the right direction.”
Although France has warned of possible sanctions once the truth is established, the French reaction has been relatively guarded. Paris is keen to retain its influence with Riyadh and protect commercial relations spanning energy, finance and military weapons sales.
Adel al-Jubeir, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, said Khashoggi’s killing is now a legal case and should not be politicised after the public prosecutor said it would seek the death penalty for five suspects.
“The politicisation of the issue contributes to a fissure in the Islamic world while the kingdom seeks the unity of the Islamic world,” he told reporters in the capital, Riyadh.
Last month, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had called the killing a “political murder“, adding that international investigators should be included in the probe.
Al-Jubeir reiterated that MBS had “absolutely nothing to do” with the murder, while after being asked about possible international sanctions in response to the case, he said there was a difference between sanctioning individuals and holding the Saudi government responsible.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said his country was not satisfied with the Saudi Attorney General’s latest account of events leading up to the murder of Khashoggi.
Shaalan al-Shaalan, the Saudi deputy public prosecutor, told reporters earlier in the day that the team that killed Khashoggi had been sent to repatriate him.
Cavusoglu reiterated that the murder was premeditated and that equipment was brought into Turkey to dismember the body.
He repeated Ankara’s demand that the 15-man team involved in his murder be “tried in accordance with Turkish law” and said that those ordering and carrying out Khashoggi’s killing “need to be uncovered”.
“Turkish law is applicable in this case, even though the murder took place in the Saudi consulate,” he said.
Saudi Arabia is seeking the death penalty for five people involved in the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.
Shaalan al-Shaalan, the kingdom’s deputy public prosecutor, told a news conference in Riyadh that five men ordered the drugging and dismemberment of Khashoggi after “talks with him failed” inside the country’s consulate in Istanbul.
He added that MBS was not implicated in the gruesome murder that caused global outrage.
Read more here.
US Republican Senator Lindsey Graham upped his rhetoric against MBS on Tuesday, saying the Saudi crown prince is “unstable and unreliable”, Bloomberg reported.
Graham, who has been a vocal critic of bin Salman since the murder of Saudi writer, Jamal Khashoggi, said he doesn’t see the “situation getting fixed as long as he’s [bin Salman] is around”.
“I am of the opinion that the current leadership, the MBS leadership, has been a disaster for the relationship and the region, and I will find it very difficult to do business as usual with somebody who’s been this unstable,” he said as quoted by Bloomberg.
Graham said there is still no plan in place, but he and other senators are discussing sanctions against Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi’s death.
The US Senate may vote within weeks on legislation to punish Saudi Arabia over the murder of Jamal Khashoggi and the devastating war in Yemen.
Senator Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the Senate could vote before the end of the year on a resolution seeking to cut off all assistance to Saudi Arabia for the war in Yemen.
He said it was also possible that measures to prevent arms sales to Riyadh would make it to the Senate floor.
“Senators are looking for some way to show Saudi Arabia the disdain they have for what has happened with the journalist, but also concerns about the way Yemen has gone,” said Corker.
Corker said his staff had asked that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Defense Secretary James Mattis and CIA Director Gina Haspel come to the Capitol as soon as late November for a classified briefing to address concerns about Yemen and Khashoggi’s death.
It has been reported the CIA director has listened to the audio recording of Khashoggi’s killing.
President Trump’s national security adviser says people who have listened to an audio recording of the killing of a Saudi journalist do not think it implicates MBS.
John Bolton told reporters at a summit in Singapore that he has not personally listened to the tape. But he says those who have do not think it links Khashoggi’s death to the crown prince.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he shared the audio recordings with Saudi Arabia and other nations, including the US, Britain, France, Germany and Canada.
MBS tried to persuade Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to start a war in Gaza to take the focus off the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, Middle East Eye reported on Tuesday.
According to sources that spoke to the website, a war in Gaza was one of the measures the kingdom considered to have international attention shift away from Khashoggi case.
The sources added that other options included bribing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan by buying military equipment from Turkey.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said recordings related to the killing of Jamal Khashoggi , which Ankara has shared with Western allies, are “appalling”, and shocked a Saudi intelligence officer who listened to them, according to local Turkish media.
“We played the recordings regarding this murder to everyone who wanted them from us. Our intelligence organisation did not hide anything. We played them to all who wanted them including the Saudis, the USA, France, Canada, Germany, Britain,” he said.
“The recordings are really appalling. Indeed when the Saudi intelligence officer listened to the recordings he was so shocked he said: ‘This one must have taken heroin, only someone who takes heroin would do this’,” Erdogan added.
The Turkish president said that the murder of Khashoggi must have been ordered at the highest level of the Saudi government, but added that he did not think King Salman was responsible for the order.
“It must be revealed who gave them the order to murder,” Erdogan said, referring to a comment by MBS who previously said that the matter “will be clarified”.
A member of a Saudi assassination squad phoned a superior shortly after Jamal Khashoggi was murdered and told him “tell your boss” their mission had been accomplished, The New York Times reported.
Citing three people familiar with a recording of Khashoggi’s killing collected by Turkish intelligence, the newspaper said while he was not mentioned by name, US officials believe “your boss” was a reference to MBS.
US intelligence officials view the recording as some of the strongest evidence yet linking bin Salman to the murder, it said.
Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, one of 15 Saudis sent to Istanbul to target Khashoggi, made the phone call and spoke in Arabic, sources told the Times. Mutreb is a security officer who frequently travels with MBS.
Turkish intelligence officers told US officials they believe the call was made to one of bin Salman’s close aides.
Canadian intelligence has listened to Turkish recordings of what happened to Jamal Khashoggi said Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, although Trudeau added that he himself had not listened to them.
“Canada’s intelligence agencies have been working very closely on this issue with Turkish intelligence and Canada has been fully briefed on what Turkey had to share and I had a conversation with Erdogan a couple of weeks ago and here in Paris we had brief exchanges and I thanked him for his strength in responding to the Khashoggi situation,” said Trudeau.
“We continue to be engaged with our allies on the investigation into accountability for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi and we are in discussions with our like-minded allies as to the next steps with regard Saudi Arabia,” added Trudeau at a news conference in Paris on Monday.
About 200 people gathered in Istanbul to honour the memory of Khashoggi, demanding justice for his killing.
Supporters met on Sunday to talk and watch videos of eulogies for the Washington Post contributor, who was killed on October 2 inside Saudi Arabia’s Istanbul consulate, where he went to handle paperwork for his upcoming marriage. His fiancee was among the participants in the memorial.
Turan Kislakci, head of the Turkish-Arab Media Association (TAM), to which Khashoggi belonged, called for justice to be done “so that these barbaric tyrants can never do the same thing again”.
Yemeni human rights activist Tawakkol Karman, who won the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize for her participation in the Arab Spring uprisings, said the killing was reminiscent of crimes committed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group.
MBS has discussed bilateral relations with British Prime Minister Theresa May’s special envoy, Simon McDonald, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Monday.
McDonald’s talks in Riyadh come as British foreign minister Jeremy Hunt said he will visit Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on Monday to press for an end to the war in Yemen and to urge Saudi leaders to cooperate with an investigation into the murder of Khashoggi.
UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt visits Saudi Arabia to press Saudi leaders to cooperate with an investigation into Khashoggi’s murder.
The visit comes at a time when Riyadh is facing global criticism and potential sanctions over the killing.
Hunt, the first British minister to visit Saudi Arabia since Khashoggi’s murder, will call on the Saudi authorities to do more to deliver justice and accountability for his family.
“The international community remain united in horror and outrage at the brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi one month ago. It is clearly unacceptable that the full circumstances behind his murder still remain unclear,” he said.
The head of investigations at the Turkish Daily Sabah newspaper has told Al Jazeera that Jamal Khashoggi’s last words were “I’m suffocating … Take this bag off my head, I’m claustrophobic”, according to an audio recording from inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Khashoggi suffocated to death while a plastic bag covered his head, Nazif Karaman told Al Jazeera.
Karaman said the murder lasted for about seven minutes, according to the recordings.
A report by The New York Times has said that Saudi intelligence officials close to MBS met with businessmen in 2017 to discuss manoeuvres to sabotage Iran’s economy and broached the possibility of killing Iranian enemies of the kingdom.
During the meeting, Saudi officials asked the businessmen if they “conducted kinetics” – a term used to refer to assassinations – to kill Qassim Suleimani, the leader of the specialised Quds force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the paper reported
“Their discussions, more than a year before the killing of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi, indicate that top Saudi officials have considered assassinations since the beginning of Prince Mohammed’s ascent,” wrote The Times.
US President Trump and his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, agreed on Saturday that Saudi Arabia needs to shed full light on the events surrounding Khashoggi’s murder, Reuters news agency reported, citing a French presidency source.
The two leaders also said the issue should not be allowed to cause further destabilisation in the Middle East and that it could create an opportunity to find a political resolution to the war in Yemen, the official said.
Trump and Macron are in Paris to commemorate the end of World War I.
Turkey has given recordings on the killing of Jamal Khashoggi to Saudi Arabia, the US, Germany, France and Britain, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday.
Turkish sources have said previously that authorities have an audio recording purportedly documenting the murder.
Speaking before his departure to France to attend commemorations to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, Erdogan said Saudi Arabia knows the killer of Jamal Khashoggi is among a group of 15 people who arrived in Turkey one day ahead of the October 2 killing.
“We gave the tapes. We gave them to Saudi Arabia, to the United States, Germans, French and British, all of them. They have listened to all the conversations in them. They know,” Erdogan said.
Turkish police are ending the search for the Khashoggi’s body, but the criminal investigation into the Saudi journalist’s murder will continue, sources told Al Jazeera.
Al Jazeera has learned on Friday that traces of acid were found at the Saudi consul-general’s residence in Istanbul, where the body was believed to be disposed of with the use of chemicals.
The residence is walking distance from the Saudi consulate, where Khashoggi was allegedly killed by a team of Saudi officers and officials.
Istanbul’s chief prosecutor said on October 31 that Khashoggi was strangled as soon as he entered the consulate and that his body was dismembered, in the first official comments on the case.
Norway announced on Friday that it was suspending new licenses for arms exports to Saudi Arabia following recent developments in the Gulf kingdom and the situation in Yemen.
“We have decided that in the present situation, we will not give new licenses for the export of defence material or multipurpose goods for military use to Saudi Arabia,” Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide said in a statement.
While Khashoggi’s murder was not mentioned, the statement said the decision had been taken following “a broad assessment of recent developments in Saudi Arabia and the unclear situation in Yemen”.
The announcement came a week after Norway’s foreign minister summoned the Saudi ambassador to Oslo to protest Khashoggi’s assassination.
Germany said last month that it would halt its arms exports to Saudi Arabia until the killing of Khashoggi was explained.
Hatice Cengiz, Khashoggi’s fiancee, has expressed “shock and sadness” over reports suggesting that his body may have been dissolved with chemicals.
Cengiz said on Twitter late Thursday that Khashoggi’s killers had deprived his loved ones of conducting funeral prayers and burying him in the holy city of Medina as he had wished.
In a message to The Associated Press on Friday, Cengiz said she had not received any information from officials to confirm the reports.
I'm unable to express my sorrow to learn about dissolving your body Jamal! They killed you and chopped up your body, depriving me and your family of conducting your funeral prayer and burying you in Madinah as wished.
Are these killers and those behind it human beings?
Oh my God! pic.twitter.com/U5OKS5DkVb
— Hatice Cengiz / خديجة (@mercan_resifi) November 8, 2018
MBS told a group of American evangelical leaders earlier this month that those responsible for Khashoggi’s killing would be punished.
He also stressed that the crisis must not shift focus away from Iran’s threat to the region and the world, according to the delegation’s organiser.
In an article posted on Axios, a news website, Barak Ravid of Israel’s Channel 10 news quotes Joel Rosenberg as saying bin Salman accused his “enemies” of exploiting Khashoggi’s murder, which he called a “heinous act”.
MBS told a group of American evangelical leaders on November 1 that those responsible for Khashoggi’s killing would be punished but stressed that the crisis must not shift focus away from Iran’s threat to the region and the world, according to the delegation’s organiser.
In an article posted on Axios, a news website, Barak Ravid of Israel’s Channel 10 news quotes Joel
Rosenberg as saying bin Salman accused his “enemies” of exploiting Khashoggi’s murder, which he called a “heinous act”.
The meeting, which lasted some two hours, was scheduled before the Khashoggi crisis erupted.
A source in the Turkish attorney general’s office told Al Jazeera that the investigative team found traces of hydrofluoric acid and other chemicals inside a well at the Saudi consul general’s home in Istanbul.
The source said the killers dissolved the journalist’s dismembered body in acid in one of the rooms at Consul General Mohammed al-Otaibi’s residence.
Al Jazeera’s Andrew Simmons, reporting from Istanbul, said the residence was searched by Turkish investigators two weeks after the killing.
“It would appear, according to the source that during that two week period, acid was used to dispose of the dismembered body of Jamal Khashoggi.”
Software made by Israeli-based cybersecurity firm NSO Group Technologies may have been used to track down Khashoggi, fugitive US whistle-blower Edward Snowden told an Israeli audience via video conference.
Snowden said the phone of one of Khashoggi’s friends, Omar Abdulaziz – who lives in exile in Canada – had been infected with NSO’s Pegasus spyware. The whistle-blower, who now lives in Russia, said the software allowed Saudis to collect information about Khashoggi through Abdulaziz.
“The Saudis, of course, knew that Khashoggi was going to go to the consulate, as he got an appointment. But how did they know his intention and plans?”
“[NSO Group] is the worst of the worst in selling these burglary tools, that are being actively used to violate the human rights of dissidents, opposition figures, activists, to some pretty bad players,” Snowden said, “but they are not alone.”
US President Trump has said he will have a “much stronger opinion” on the killing of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi “over the next week”.
Trump said he is working with the US Congress, Turkey and Saudi Arabia on solving the October 2 killing at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
“I am forming a very strong opinion,” the US president said during a press conference at the White House.
Saudi Arabia’s king has begun a domestic tour with a first stop in the conservative heartland of Qassim province, where he pardoned prisoners serving time on finance charges and announced 16bn riyals – about $4.27bn – in new projects.
This is King Salman’s first such tour since he ascended to the throne in 2015 and comes as the kingdom faces international pressure following the killing of writer Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul last month.
The state-run news agency reported on Wednesday that the government would pay debts of up to 1m riyals, or $267,000, on behalf of each of the pardoned prisoners.
A Turkish security source has told Al Jazeera that 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 Trump in Washington, DC.
Turkish sources also said that Saudi Arabia would pay “blood money” or compensation to Khashoggi’s family and his fiancee.
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.”
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.”
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 attacks 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?”
US lawmakers to push for crackdown on Saudi Arabia
The US Senate may vote within weeks on legislation to punish Saudi Arabia over the murder of Jamal Khashoggi and the devastating war in Yemen.
Senator Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the Senate could vote before the end of the year on a resolution seeking to cut off all assistance to Saudi Arabia for the war in Yemen.
He said it was also possible that measures to prevent arms sales to Riyadh would make it to the Senate floor.
“Senators are looking for some way to show Saudi Arabia the disdain they have for what has happened, with the journalist, but also concerns about the way Yemen has gone,” said Corker.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has told Fox News the US 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 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.
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.
Today, on the UN’s International day to end impunity for crimes against journalists, @AmnestyUK put up a mock street sign reading "Khashoggi Street" in front of the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in London #JamalKhasoggi #SaudiArabia pic.twitter.com/dWBtA5Cgog
— Sherine Tadros (@SherineT) November 2, 2018
“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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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 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.”
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is suspending future projects with the Misk Foundation, a non-profit chaired by MBS.
“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.
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”.
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.
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 US 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.”
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.
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 MBS, 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 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.
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, MBS.
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.
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.”
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.
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 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.
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.
United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet called for international experts to take part in an independent investigation into the killing of Khashoggi, with access to evidence and witnesses.
“For an investigation to be carried out free of any appearance of political considerations, the involvement of international experts, with full access to evidence and witnesses, would be highly desirable,” Bachelet said in a statement.
Bachelet also urged Saudi Arabia to reveal the whereabouts of Khashoggi’s body, adding that a forensic examination and autopsy were crucial in the ongoing investigation into the “shockingly brazen crime” carried out in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on Saudi Arabia’s chief prosecutor to find out who ordered the murder of Khashoggi, and not spare “certain people” in his investigation.
“Who sent these 15 people? As Saudi public prosecutor, you have to ask that question, so you can reveal it,” Erdogan said, referring to the 15-man team suspected of being behind the crime.
“Now we have to solve this case. No need to prevaricate, it makes no sense to try to protect certain people,” he told reporters in Ankara.
Erdogan said the Turkish prosecutor had told his Saudi counterpart that the 18 suspects in the case could be tried in Turkey. Saudi officials also needed to reveal the identity of a local cooperator said to have been involved in Khashoggi’s disappearance, he said.
Susan Rice, former US national security adviser during President Obama’s second term, has lashed out at MBS, in an opinion piece in the New York Times.
In the op-ed, Rice said that the “brazen murder of Jamal Khashoggi raises a critical question that the Trump administration plainly wants to avoid: Can the US continue to cooperate with MBS?
“The young prince’s almost certain culpability in Mr. Khashoggi’s killing underscores his extreme recklessness and immorality, while exposing him as a dangerous and unreliable partner for the United States.”
Saudi Arabia’s chief prosecutor on Tuesday visited the consulate in Istanbul where Khashoggi was murdered, according to an AFP journalist at the scene.
The head of the Saudi investigation, Attorney General Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb, visited the consulate after meeting for the second time with Istanbul Chief Prosecutor Irfan Fidan.
Saudi prosecutors have handed over the testimonies by the 18 suspects in the killing of Khashoggi to Turkish officials, a source in the Turkish Attorney General’s office told Al Jazeera.
The move comes after sources told Al Jazeera that Istanbul’s chief prosecutor’s office was left “unsatisfied” following a meeting with Saudi Arabia’s top prosecutor over Khashoggi’s killing.
Saud al-Mojeb, who arrived in Istanbul from Riyadh on Sunday, had been expected to provide the testimonies from the 18 suspects being held in Saudi Arabia, but according to the sources he initially failed to hand over the statements.
Hatice Cengiz, Khashoggi’s fiancee, has addressed a memorial for the slain journalist in London.
The event in the British capital was attended by politicians, journalists and activists.
Cengiz said Khashoggi “felt it was his duty to be the voice of the voiceless”, before repeating her demand for justice to be served.
“I want the role of the political leadership in this brutal killing to be brought to light. I want justice for Jamal,” she told the crowd.
“I want to bury the body of the beloved Jamal. Therefore I am asking once again, where is his body? I believe that the Saudi regime knows where his body is. They should answer my demand. For this is not only the demand of a fiancee, but a human and Islamic demand from everyone, every nation.
“I want justice to be served. Not only for those who murdered my beloved Jamal but for those who organised it and gave the order of it. These questions are not just my questions, they are now being asked by millions.”
Last week, speaking to Turkish media, Cengiz said she had declined an invitation by the White House, saying she perceived US President Trump’s move to be “a statement to win public favour”.
During her speech in London, Cengiz said: “President Trump should help reveal the truth and ensure justice be served. He should not pave the way for a cover-up of my fiancee’s murder. Let’s not let money taint our conscience and compromise our values.
“Jamal was my beloved fiancee, but he was also a gentle human being, a loving man, a journalist and true believer in freedom and democracy in the Arab world. Let’s demand justice for Jamal and stand up for his ideals.”
Sources have told Al Jazeera that Istanbul’s chief prosecutor’s office was left “unsatisfied” following a meeting with Saudi Arabia’s top prosecutor over Khashoggi’s killing.
Saud al-Mojeb, who arrived in Istanbul from Riyadh on Sunday, had been expected to provide testimonies from the 18 suspects being held in Saudi Arabia but, according to the sources, he did not.
Turkey called for the suspects to be extradited from the kingdom, saying their alleged use of a local collaborator in the killing was a legitimate reason for them to face trial on Turkish soil.
Al Jazeera’s Hashem Ahelbarra, reporting from Istanbul, said the meeting, which lasted around 75 minutes, “didn’t go well because each party had its own expectation about what it wanted from the other side”.
He added: “The Turkish government wanted the top Saudi prosecutor to deliver more information from the 18 suspects, particularly on who gave the order to kill Jamal Khashoggi, and about the [missing] body,” he said.
“Meanwhile, the Saudis were hoping to hear more from the Turkish investigator about the ‘strong evidence’ it has on the case.
“This could explain why the Turkish government said it was not satisfied after the meeting and it was expecting more from the Saudis.”
Our correspondent added: “It’s now likely that the Saudi prosecutor will return to the kingdom for further consultation with the country’s top political leadership.
“After that, we’ll receive more clarity about whether there will be cooperation or strained relations between the Saudis and the Turks.”
The Saudi public prosecutor leading the country’s investigation into Khashoggi’s death has met Istanbul’s chief prosecutor at the city’s court on Monday, according to Turkish state news agency Anadolu.
The meeting reportedly lasted about 75 minutes, but no information has so far been released as to what the two men discussed.
Shortly after the meeting ended, Turkey’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlut Cavusoglu said that the sharing of information between Saudi and Turkish prosecutors will be useful and that Saudi Arabia should conclude the investigation into Khashoggi’s killing as soon as possible.
He also called on Saudi Arabia to reveal “the whole truth” regarding the killing of the journalist, Reuters news agency reported.
HSBC’s Chief Executive, John Flint, said Saudi Arabia is unlikely to see any significant impact on its trade and investment flows following Khashoggi’s killing.
Speaking to Reuters news agency on Monday, Flint acknowledged that the case had damaged the kingdom’s reputation internationally, but that any negative feeling will likely not be reflected in trade.
“It has been a difficult few weeks for the kingdom, this has not been good for Saudi Arabia.
“I understand the emotion around the story, but it is very difficult to think about disengaging from Saudi Arabia given its importance to global energy markets,” he said.
Saudi prosecutor Saud al-Mojeb has arrived overnight in Istanbul, where he will meet Irfan Fidan, the city’s chief public prosecutor, to discuss the latest findings in the Khashoggi case, Anadolu news agency reported.
According to a source at the Istanbul prosecutor’s office, who spoke to Al Jazeera on condition of anonymity, Fidan will ask al-Mojeb to conduct another joint search at the consul-general’s residence.
Meanwhile, the dossier that will be presented to al-Mojeb in Monday’s meeting will include interviews with 45 consulate employees.
Turkish investigators looking into Khashoggi’s killing will present Saudi Arabia’s top prosecutor with a 150-page dossier and request another joint search at the residence of the kingdom’s consul-general in Istanbul, according to a Turkish source.
Saudi prosecutor Saud al-Mojeb will meet on Monday Irfan Fidan, the Istanbul chief public prosecutor, to discuss the latest findings in the case.
According to a source at the Istanbul prosecutor’s office, who spoke to Al Jazeera on condition of anonymity, Fidan will ask al-Mojeb to conduct another joint search at the consul-general’s residence.
Meanwhile, the dossier that will be presented to al-Mojeb in Monday’s meeting will include interviews with 45 consulate employees.
According to the source, the file also identifies four people as the prime suspects in Khashoggi’s killing but names only three of them: Saudi Consul-General Mohammed al-Otaibi, forensics expert Saleh al-Tubaiqi and Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, who was identified as being part of a 15-member team of suspected Saudi agents who flew into and out of Istanbul on October 2, the day of Khashoggi’s disappearance.
The fourth person who will be presented as a main suspect is an unnamed “local collaborator” who, according to Riyadh, was given Khashoggi’s body in order to dispose of it.
Police sources have told Turkish media that the Saudi consul station chief in Istanbul went to a forest north of the city a day before Khashoggi’s killing.
A CCTV image, obtained by state television network TRT and other media, showed a black car with a diplomatic license plate at an entrance to Belgrad Forest on October 1.
Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford, reporting from Istanbul, said the man being implicated was Ahmad Abdullah al-Muzaini, one of the consulate station chiefs since 2015.
“In the last week or so, it’s also been reported that al-Muzaini left Istanbul for Riyadh on September 29 and returned on October 1, and that’s the day, according to these reports that he was seen around that forest.”
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said earlier this week that consulate officials made “reconnaissance” trips to the forest as well as the city of Yalova a day before Khashoggi was killed.
Saudi Arabia’s attorney general is set to arrive in Turkey to hold talks with investigators looking into the killing of Khashoggi. Earlier reports said the top prosecutor, Saud al-Mojeb, had already arrived.
Turkey has said al-Mojeb is expected to discuss the latest findings of the probe with Turkish investigators.
Ther visit comes just days after CIA director Gina Haspel was in Turkey to review evidence before briefing the US president.
Turkey is seeking the extradition of 18 Saudi suspects detained in the kingdom in connection with the October 2 killing.
Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister appeared to reject that notion in remarks on Saturday, saying the kingdom would try the perpetrators and bring them to justice after the investigation was completed.
Britain’s Sunday Express newspaper is reporting that the United Kingdom was made aware of a plot to kidnap Jamal Khashoggi and take him back to Saudi Arabia, three weeks before he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and was killed.
An intelligence source told the Sunday Express: “We were initially made aware that something was going in the first week of September, around three weeks before Mr Khashoggi walked into the consulate on October 2.
“These details included primary orders to capture Mr Khashoggi and bring him back to Saudi Arabia for questioning. However, the door seemed to be left open for alternative remedies to what was seen as a big problem.
“We know the orders came from a member of the royal circle but have no direct information to link them to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.”
The source added that MI6 had warned their Saudi counterparts to cancel the mission, though this request was ignored.
“On October 1 we became aware of the movement of a group, which included members of Riasat Al-Istikhbarat Al-Amah (Saudi Arabia’s General Intelligence) to Istanbul, and it was pretty clear what their aim was.
“Through channels, we warned that this was not a good idea. Subsequent events show that our warning was ignored.”
US defence secretary, James Mattis, said that he had met Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister and called for a transparent investigation into the killing of Khashoggi.
Mattis said he met Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir during a conference in Bahrain on Saturday and discussed the killing.
“We discussed it. You know the same thing we talked about, the need for transparency, full and complete investigation,” Mattis told a small group of reporters travelling to Prague with him.
“(There was) full agreement from Foreign Minister Jubeir, no reservations at all, he said we need to know what happened and it was very collaborative, in agreement,” Mattis added.
French President Emmanuel Macron has called for sanctions on those responsible for Khashoggi’s murder.
“For me, things are clear. Firstly, some facts have been established. We must fully investigate the nature of these facts, and who’s responsible,” he told reporters on the sidelines of a four-way Syria summit in Istanbul, also attended by the leaders of Turkey, Germany and Russia.
“Sanctions must be taken on this basis and these sanctions must be coherent and complete, and be extremely concrete and proportional,” added Macron.
“It will depend on the facts as they are established and the sanctions will be taken at a European level, as we usually do, so that there is true coordination.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron have agreed to find a common European Union position on arms sales to Saudi Arabia, according to Germany’s leader.
“We agreed that when we have more clarity, and we are counting on that, when we know who was behind this then we will try to find a unified European solution or reaction from all member states of the European Union to show that we negotiate on the basis of common values,” Merkel told reporters in Istanbul.
The chancellor has promised to halt all German arms exports to the kingdom until the killing of Khashoggi is explained.
Turkey’s President Erdogan says he has shared details of the Khashoggi case in bilateral talks during a four-way summit on Syria with the leaders of Russia, France and Germany.
Speaking at a joint news conference following a summit in Istanbul, Erdogan said Riyadh needed to say who sent the 18 people believed to be responsible for the journalist’s killing to Turkey.
He also said Ankara valued the conclusion of discussions between Turkish and Saudi prosecutors, who are due to meet on Sunday.
France and Germany’s leaders have said they want a “coordinated” European position for sanctions on arms sales to Saudi Arabia.
This came after French President Emmanuel Macron implied on Friday that German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government was engaging in “pure demagoguery” by halting arms sales to Riyadh.
On the sidelines of a Syria summit in Istanbul, the two leaders had a “peaceful exchange”, the Elysee palace said, and agreed not to announce their next positions on the issue without first coordinating “at the European level”.
Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir has criticised the global outcry surrounding Khashoggi’s killing as “hysterical” and rejected Turkey’s demand to extradite the suspects.
“The issue has become fairly hysterical,” al-Jubeir said, adding that investigations take time and facts should be determined as inquiries continue.
Answering questions from journalists at a regional summit in Bahrain, al-Jubeir described Saudi Arabia’s relationship with the US as “ironclad”, despite earlier comments from US Secretary of State James Mattis that the killing “undermines regional stability”.
Riyadh dismissed Ankara’s calls to extradite 18 Saudis wanted for the murder of Khashoggi.
“The individuals are Saudi nationals. They’re detained in Saudi Arabia, and the investigation is in Saudi Arabia, and they will be prosecuted in Saudi Arabia,” Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told a regional defence forum in Bahrain.
He was responding to Turkish President Erdogan who on Friday renewed his call for the 18 men to be extradited for trial in Turkey.
US Secretary of Defense James Mattis said that Khashoggi’s murder “undermines regional stability” and that the US intends to take further action in response.
Speaking to an audience of international officials in Bahrain, Mattis avoided mentioning Saudi Arabia in connection with the murder but did say that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had already revoked some Saudi visas and “will be taking additional measures”.
“With our collective interests in peace and unwavering respect for human rights in mind, the murder of Jamal Khashoggi in a diplomatic facility must concern us all,” he said.
He added that “our respect for the Saudi people is undiminished” but that respect “must come with transparency and trust”.
Mattis also argued that Russia could not replace the US commitment to the Middle East, saying that Moscow lacked essential moral principles, and renewed criticism of Iran’s “outlaw regime”.
French President Emmanuel Macron has dismissed calls by several European countries to suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia following Khashoggi’s murder, calling them “pure demagoguery”.
Any sanctions should target “a field of activity … or individuals or interests who have been shown to have had something to do with the murder of Mr Khashoggi”, Macron told a news conference in Slovakia’s capital, Bratislava, adding “it’s pure demagoguery to say that we should stop selling arms”.
“That has nothing to do with the Khashoggi affair. That is linked to the situation in Yemen [where Saudi Arabia is fighting Houthi rebels], which requires a very close follow-up”.
He added that any sanctions following Khashoggi’s killing should be imposed at a European level “once the facts have been established”.
The fiancee of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has called for those responsible for his murder to be brought to justice, adding that she declined an invitation by US President Trump to visit the White House.
Hatice Cengiz, a Turkish national, made the comments in an emotional interview with broadcaster Haberturk on Friday, her first TV appearance since Khashoggi’s killing inside the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul more than three weeks ago.
“I demand that all those involved in this savagery from the highest to the lowest levels are punished and brought to justice,” she said.
In her interview with the Turkish broadcaster, Cengiz said Trump has invited her to visit the White House but said she would not go until the US was sincere in its efforts to uncover the truth behind Khashoggi’s killing.
Referring to Trump’s invitation, she said: “I perceived it as a statement to win public favour”.
Turkish prosecutors plan to seek the extradition of 18 suspects over the killing of Khashoggi.
Anadolu Agency said on Friday the Istanbul chief prosecutor’s office submitted its request to Turkey’s justice ministry, adding that the foreign ministry would formally request the extraditions.
“The reasoning behind the extradition request is that Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in Turkey by Saudi nationals who traveled to Turkey for this specific purpose,” a senior Turkish official said.
“It is clear that the judicial system in Turkey is better equipped to genuinely serve the cause of justice in this case,” the official added.
“The court proceedings in Turkey will be open to international observers in order to ensure the greatest level of transparency.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Ankara has more documents and information, which it will reveal “when the time is right”.
During a speech to provincial members of his AK Party in the Turkish capital, Erdogan called on Saudi Arabia to reveal who gave the order for the dissident journalist to be killed.
He also announced that the chief Saudi prosecutor will be arriving in Istanbul on Sunday to meet with his Turkish counterpart as part of the investigation into Khashoggi’s murder.
Erdogan added that Khashoggi’s killer is likely to be among the 18 men arrested by Riyadh.
“There is no other explanation, the perpetrator is among these 18 people and if it isn’t then you have to explain who is the local collaborator,” he said.
During the speech, Erdogan also called on the Saudis to hand over the men arrested in connection with the murder to Turkish authorities.
“If you are determined to lift this shroud of mystery, then this is the key point of our collaboration,” he said.
Mehmet Celik, a journalist from Daily Sabah, a pro-government English language newspaper in Turkey, said Erdogan had taken a more forceful position in the speech than previously.
“I think this is one of the harsher remarks Erdogan made on the case and he named both King Salman and Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia.
“I think the [tone] and the language he used was significant in today’s speech, he was definitely harsher, he said the explanations made so far by Saudi Arabia were “childish” and he demanded more concrete and consistent answers from Saudi Arabia,” said Celik.
Al Jazeera’s Alan FIsher said the speech showed that Turkey remained fully committed to getting to the bottom of Khashoggi’s killing.
He said that searches by Turkish authorities of a well in the consular grounds and a forest on the outskirts of Istanbul may suggest that Khashoggi’s remains have been disposed of in more than one location.
“The horrific reality is that we might be looking at not just one site, but perhaps two, three – even more – where perhaps this body has been scattered … The Turks seem to be on the mind that the body wasn’t taken out of the country and they therefore want the Saudis to point to this so-called Turkish cooperator,” he said.
Russia said it believes Saudi royals were not involved in Khashoggi’s murder after Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed the case with Saudi King Salman.
Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesman, called a journalist’s question on whether Moscow fully believes that the royals had no part in the murder “inappropriate”.
“There’s an official statement from the king, there’s an official statement from the crown prince and no one should have any grounds not to believe them,” Peskov said during a conference call on Friday.
Putin spoke to King Salman by telephone on Thursday to discuss “the situation around the case of Khashoggi”, according to a Kremlin statement.
In the wake of the Khashoggi controversy, a number of international leaders as well as prominent CEOs pulled out of an investment summit in Riyadh.
Al Jazeera’s Step Vaessen, reporting from Moscow, said that a Russian delegation did attend the Future Investment Initiative.
“It has been said, that Russia might be taking advantage of the deteriorating relationship between Saudi Arabia and a lot of Western countries,” she said.
Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has had a telephone call with his Saudi counterpart Adel al-Jubeir, a Turkish foreign ministry source said on Friday.
No information has so far been revealed about the content of the call.
Germany’s Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said he welcomed Austria’s proposal for a joint European position on arm exports to Saudi Arabia.
Altmaier made the comments in an interview with German broadcaster Deutschlandfunk (DLF) on Friday.
The German government has agreed not to deliver weapons to the kingdom at the moment, he said in an interview during a visit to Turkey, adding that the effect of that decision would be stronger if European countries adopted a common position.
The son of slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Salah, arrived in the US after Saudi Arabia lifted a travel ban.
A State Department spokesperson said the US welcomed the decision by Riyadh to allow the dual Saudi-American citizen to go.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed Salah’s status during his recent visit to the kingdom, spokesman Robert Palladino told reporters.
Palladino said Pompeo “made it clear to Saudi leaders that he wanted Salah Khashoggi to return to the United States, and we are pleased that he is now able to do so”.
The destination of Salah and his family was not known, but his late father lived in the Washington area.
The Saudi leadership drew sharp condemnation this week for staging a photo-op showing a clearly uncomfortable Salah shaking hands with MBS, who has been accused of orchestrating Khashoggi’s murder.
The United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions said Khashoggi’s killing bears the hallmark of an extrajudicial execution.
“What we know is sufficient to suggest very strongly that Mr Khashoggi was the victim of an extrajudicial execution and that the Saudi Arabia government is implicated in one way or another,” Agnes Callamard told Al Jazeera.
Callamard called for an international investigation into Khashoggi’s murder earlier in the day at a UN session in New York City.
Faisal Fahad, the Saudi representative on the UN committee, said Callamard had overstepped her remit with her comments. “Kindly do not give us any personal opinions in this official meeting,” he said.
Al Jazeera’s Diplomatic Editor James Bays, reporting from the United Nations, said it’s unclear if an international probe will come to fruition.
“The UN secretary general [Antonio Guterres] says he will only form a panel to investigate if he gets a referral from one of the main bodies of the UN – the Security Council, the General Assembly, or the Human Rights Council, or from one of the countries concerned,” he said.
CIA chief Gina Haspel returned from Turkey and briefed US President Trump on her findings in the Khashoggi killing, the US State Department said.
“The president received a briefing from Director Haspel this morning following her return from Turkey. She briefed the president on their [Turks’] findings and her discussions,” spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement.
The Washington Post, which Khashoggi contributed to as a columnist, has reported that Haspel listened to “compelling” audio recordings from Turkey’s government that captured the killing of the Saudi writer.
Al Jazeera’s Mike Hanna, reporting from Washington, DC, said the Trump-Haspel meeting was crucial as the US president said he wanted all the evidence available before making a decision on how to respond to Saudi Arabia.
He noted Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also attended the meeting, but there were no other details of exactly what was discussed.
“The silence is a bit strange given that President Trump had been so adamant in recent days that this was a critical meeting in terms of the US getting information to determine how it’s going act in the days ahead,” said Hanna.
Supporters of Jamal Khashoggi gathered in cities around the world calling for those responsible for his murder to be held accountable.
In Istanbul, a man wearing a mask of MBS, with fake blood on his hands, stood outside the consulate where he was killed more than three weeks ago.
The demonstrations were organised by a group calling itself the Khashoggi Friends Association, which is demanding justice for his murder.
Protests were also held in London, Paris, and Washington, DC.
The event was not just a call for accountability for Khashoggi’s death, it was also an appeal to leaders in the Middle East to respect freedom of speech, highlighting “journalism is not a crime“.
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin by telephone to brief him on the investigation into Khashoggi’s murder.
According to the official Saudi press agency, the king assured Putin the Saudi government was determined to hold the guilty parties accountable and to make sure “they receive their punishment”.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a phone call with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, and vowed to take appropriate measures in response, the chancellery said.
Merkel “made clear that the exact course of events must be cleared up”, the chancellery said after Thursday’s telephone call between the two leaders.
“The chancellor urged Saudi Arabia to ensure a rapid, transparent and credible investigation. She stressed that all those responsible must be held accountable,” the statement said.
The Guardian newspaper reported that actor Scarlett Johansson reportedly vetoed funding from MBS for her next film about Pulitzer prize-winning photojournalist Lynsey Addario.
Addario, who won the Pulitzer for her work in Pakistan, told the New York Times that when Johansson found out the initial set of funders included Bin Salman, she rejected his involvement.
“Scarlett Johansson said absolutely not,” Addario told the New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof.
“She said: ‘This guy is perpetuating the war in Yemen. He has women in prison’.”
The Reuters news agency is reporting that Salah, one of the sons of the slain Khashoggi, has left Saudi Arabia after reportedly being under a travel ban since his father began writing critically about MBS in columns for The Washington Post.
Sarah Leah Whitson, the executive director for the Middle East and North Africa Division at Human Rights Watch tweeted: “Good news for a change: confirming that #JamalKhashoggi son Salah and his family are finally out of Riyadh and on their way to US, travel ban lifted. Too bad Salah had to endure that cruel and bizarre greeting with MBS first.”
BREAKING Good news for a change: confirming that #JamalKhashoggi son Salah and his family are finally out of Riyadh and on their way to US, travel ban lifted. Too bad Salah had to endure that cruel and bizarre greeting with MBS first.
— Sarah Leah Whitson (@sarahleah1) October 25, 2018
Saudi dissident and satirist Ghanem Almasarir, whose social media mockery of MBS gets millions of hits, has said he is undeterred by Khashoggi’s murder.
Speaking at a protest on Wednesday outside the Saudi embassy in London, Almasarir said Khashoggi’s slaying had shown the wider world a darker side to the power wielded by MBS.
“If they are not held accountable, they will continue to do it,” the 38-year-old said, adding that many Saudi dissidents living in the UK were “afraid right now to leave their houses”.
Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor said the assassination of Khashoggi inside the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul was “premeditated”, Reuters and AFP news agencies reported, citing Saudi state media.
“Information from the Turkish authorities indicates that the act of the suspects in the Khashoggi case was premeditated,” the public prosecutor said in a statement carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency.
“The public prosecution continues its investigation with suspects … to complete the court of justice.”
Prosecutors are interrogating suspects on the basis of information provided by a joint Saudi-Turkish task force, the report said.
Saudi Arabia’s state-run Saudi Press Agency said on Thursday that bin Salman has attended the first meeting of a committee tasked with restructuring the kingdom’s intelligence services after Khashoggi’s killing.
Turkey’s foreign minister said that Turkey had no intention of taking the Khashoggi case to an international court, but would share information if the court launched its own investigation.
Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday that Ankara is taking all necessary steps to clear up the mystery surrounding what happened to Khashoggi and is cooperating with everyone who wants to cooperate, including Saudi Arabia.
Speaking at a news conference with Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki, he also reiterated that everyone involved in the killing should be investigated and tried in Turkey.
Former CIA Director John Brennan has said he has “no doubt” that MBS would have had prior knowledge of any plans to kill Khashoggi.
Speaking at a live event on Wednesday, Brennan joined the international chorus of condemnation of the murder.
“Whether or not [bin Salman] authorised the dismemberment, the horrific and brutal killing and torture of [Khashoggi] and the reported dismembering of his body, I don’t know. But I have no doubt in my mind that MBS was fully aware of what was ultimately going to happen to Jamal Khashoggi and had approved it,” he said.
CIA Director Gina Haspel is flying back to Washington, DC, from Turkey after reportedly listening to an audio recording that captured Khashoggi’s killing, the Washington Post reported.
Quoting people familiar with her meetings with Turkish officials, the newspaper said Haspel heard the “compelling” recordings while on a visit to Turkey this week. Turkish media reports also suggested the CIA boss heard recordings documenting Khashoggi‘s death.
If confirmed, the recording gives a key American official access to the evidence used by Turkey to accuse Saudi Arabia of premeditated murder and puts pressure on the US to hold the Saudi leadership to account for the killing of the Post’s contributing columnist.
“This puts the ball firmly in Washington’s court,” the newspaper quoted Bruce Riedel, a former CIA official and scholar at the Brookings Institution, as saying.
“Not only will there be more pressure now from the media but Congress will say, ‘Gina, we would love to have you come visit and you can tell us exactly what you heard.'”
The Saudi crown prince, colloquially known as MBS, the country’s de facto leader, has denied having knowledge of the alleged assassination mission and on Wednesday promised to bring those responsible to justice.
He called the killing of Khashoggi a “heinous crime”.
It remains unclear if the powerful crown prince will allow a legitimate probe, since he’s been accused of a direct role in Khashoggi’s murder.
“How should a real investigation in Saudi Arabia work when one of the main suspects is the crown prince MBS?” a Turkish senior official was quoted by the Post as saying.
“He is one of the suspects. Members of his royal guard were part of the killing squad. The US nor the rest of the world should really accept this,” the official told the newspaper on condition of anonymity.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced a bill in the US House of Representatives that would stop most US arms sales to Saudi Arabia in response to Khashoggi’s killing.
The US government and American defence industry are scrambling to save the few actual deals in a much-touted $110bn weapons deal for Saudi Arabia as concerns rise about the role of the kingdom’s leadership in the murder.
The bill includes a prohibition on security assistance, intelligence, training and equipment, but does not extend to activities related to safeguarding US diplomatic posts or personnel.
The bill said US President Trump could request exceptions to the arms sale ban if he also submitted a report on a US investigation into anyone involved in “the murder of journalist and United States permanent resident Jamal Khashoggi”.
“What it essentially says is that arms deals with Saudi Arabia should be reviewed, in particular relating to training, intelligence, equipment. This is unless President Trump provides a report establishing Saudi Arabia’s innocence in this matter,” reported Al Jazeera’s Mike Hanna from Washington, DC.
He noted, however, that Congress is in recess “so there can’t be any discussion over this legislation until after the mid-term elections when the House of Representatives reconvenes” in mid-November.
Facing scrutiny over links to Saudi Arabia, FIFA says new competitions that are projected to bring in $25bn will not be funded directly by any nation.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino’s meetings with Saudi King Salman and MBS over the past year raised questions about the kingdom’s involvement in the overhaul of international football competitions for national teams and clubs.
Seven months after Infantino offered a limited outline of the financial proposition, FIFA council members have been informed of principles that will govern “any potential future agreement” with investors in the Club World Cup and worldwide Nations League, according to documents seen by AP news agency.
“FIFA would not enter into a joint venture for this purpose, whether directly or indirectly, with sovereign wealth funds of individual states,” the documents state, not addressing investment from private entities linked to states.
FIFA is distancing itself from Infantino’s comment at a media briefing in June where he was asked whether the Saudis were backers of the project.
“Whoever invests in sport generally, I think, is welcome provided we do the things in an appropriate way,” Infantino said at the time.
Proposals have stalled because of opposition within the council to Infantino’s secrecy over the financial backers.
“Football is not for sale,” UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin, who is also a FIFA vice president, said in May. UEFA is opposed to the new Club World Cup proposal.
“I cannot accept that some people, some of our colleagues, who are blinded by the pursuit of profit are considering to sell the soul of football tournaments to nebulous private funds,” Ceferin added.
Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group Corp, which is part of the group seeking a joint venture with FIFA to sell the rights to the new competitions, has received $45bn from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund for technology investments.
Investments with Saudi Arabia have become increasingly problematic for organisations since Saudi officials were accused of killing Khashoggi.
Saudi Arabia’s crown prince joked about allegations that Lebanon’s Premier-Designate Saad Hariri was detained in the kingdom last year, saying he hoped Hariri’s current visit did not spark “abduction” rumours.
Hariri “will be staying in the kingdom for two more days, so I hope there are no rumours of his abduction”, MBS said while addressing the Future Investment Initiative forum in Riyadh.
He joked Hariri was free to leave after attending the three-day conference that ends Thursday.
The prince burst out laughing and shook hands with a smiling Hariri, who sat next to him on stage, as the audience also erupted in laughter.
In November last year, Hariri announced he was stepping down from his post as prime minister in a televised address from the Saudi capital, causing observers to speculate he was being held against his will.
After French mediation, he rescinded his resignation the following month; Saudi Arabia has denied intimidating Hariri into quitting his post.
Hariri, a dual citizen of both Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, has thrown his support behind bin Salman. Saudi Arabia has long been a key ally of Hariri, while Riyadh’s regional foe Iran backs Lebanese Shia movement Hezbollah.
MBS on Wednesday said the Khashoggi case was “painful”, and that “justice will prevail”.
Calling Khashoggi’s murder a “heinous crime that cannot be justified”, the powerful crown prince said all culprits will be punished, and Saudi Arabia and Turkey will work together “to reach results”.
He said the killing of the dissident journalist will not “drive a wedge” between the kingdom and Turkey. “We will cooperate with Turkey to discover the truth behind Khashoggi’s killing,” the Saudi crown prince said.
Bin Salman broke his silence on the October 2 killing while addressing the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh, the summit now overshadowed by the Khashoggi case.
British Prime Minister Theresa May told Saudi Arabia’s King Salman on Wednesday that his country’s explanation for the death of Khashoggi in Turkey lacked credibility, her office said.
“The prime minister said the current explanation lacks credibility so there remains an urgent need to establish exactly what happened,” a Downing Street spokesperson said in a readout of a call between May and King Salman.
“She strongly urged Saudi Arabia to cooperate with the Turkish investigation and to be transparent about the results. It is important that the full facts are established.”
French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday said he had told King Salman of Saudi Arabia that France, in coordination with partners, could take action against those held responsible for the murder of Khashoggi.
Macron expressed profound outrage during a phone conversation with Salman, the French presidency said in a statement, adding the president had asked the king that the circumstances around Khashoggi’s death be fully disclosed.
MBS has opened a meeting with Russian, Chinese, Japanese and French businessmen who attended an economic forum in Riyadh despite the Khashoggi murder scandal, with the words: “Now we know who our best friends are, and who our best enemies are.”
The remarks were quoted to Russia’s Ria Novosti news agency by Mikhail Piotrovsky, director of the State Hermitage Museum, who witnessed the meeting.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday spoke on the phone with Saudi Arabia’s crown prince for the first time since the murder of Khashoggi, a presidential source said.
The two discussed “the issue of joint efforts and the steps that need to be taken in order to shed light on the Jamal Khashoggi murder in all its aspects”, the source added.
The US wants perfect clarity on exactly what happened in the death of Khashoggi, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in an internal email sent widely to US Department of State employees.
“We are already seeing steps from Saudi Arabia reflecting serious accountability, but we won’t be satisfied until we get perfect clarity on exactly what transpired,” Pompeo said in a “Miles with Mike” email sent to US State Department employees on Tuesday evening and reviewed by Reuters news agency on Wednesday.
The email described his trip to Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has said his government will fulfil past arms sales contracts with Saudi Arabia, despite his condemnation of the Khashoggi murder.
Sanchez has told fellow lawmakers on Wednesday that protecting jobs in southern Spain was also central to his decision last month to go ahead with a controversial bomb shipment to Saudi Arabia.
Spain has said that the $2.1bn purchase by Saudi Arabia for five navy ships was put at risk when the government pondered cancelling the shipment of 400 precision bombs purchased by Riyadh in 2015.
Sanchez has not clarified what his plans are regarding future purchases by the long-time commercial ally.
Turkish police have been granted permission to search a well in the garden of the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Reuters news agency reported, citing Turkish broadcaster NTV.
Saudi officials had earlier refused to allow a search.
Authorities have previously carried out inspections at the consulate and consul general’s residence as part of their investigation into the assassination of Khashoggi.
After repeated denials, Saudi Arabia admitted on the weekend that the journalist had been killed at its Istanbul consulate following a “fist-fight”. The kingdom’s officials did not, however, make any mention of where the 59-year-old’s body was.
British Prime Minister Theresa May said the UK will revoke the visas of all Saudi Arabian nationals suspected of involvement in the Khashoggi killing in a bid to prevent them from entering the country.
The UK leader also said she expects to speak to Saudi Arabia’s King Salman later on Wednesday.
“The Home Secretary is taking action against all suspects to prevent them entering the UK, and if these individuals currently have visas, those visas will be revoked today,” May told the British parliament.
“There does remain an urgent need to establish exactly what has happened in relation to this,” she added.
May’s announcement came after the US Department of State said 21 Saudis will have their US visas revoked or be made ineligible for US visas over the kingdom’s killing of the journalist.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said some are “uncomfortable” with Ankara sharing evidence concerning the ongoing investigation into Khashoggi’s killing, without elaborating on who.
Speaking at a symposium in the Turkish capital, Ankara, Erdogan also said Turkey will not allow those responsible for the Saudi journalist’s assassination inside the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul to avoid justice.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says Washington has identified some Saudi officials responsible for Khashoggi’s killing and is taking action, including revoking visas.
“The United States doesn’t believe that the killing of Khashoggi was anything other than a horrific act, and we hope that we can work together both with Congress and our allies to hold those responsible accountable,” he told a press briefing in Washington, DC.
Pompeo also said he has been working with the US Treasury to review the applicability of global Magnitsky sanctions on the individuals who are responsible for the killing of the journalist.
“These penalties will not be the last word,” Pompeo told reporters on Tuesday, adding that the US’ strategic interests with Saudi Arabia remained.
Meanwhile, CIA Director Gina Haspel, in Turkey to investigate the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, has sought to hear a purported audio recording of his torture and murder, four sources familiar with her mission told Reuters news agency.
US President Trump has said Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan was “pretty rough” on Saudi Arabia in remarks on Tuesday about Khashoggi’s killing, adding that Riyadh’s handling of the matter was “the worst cover-up ever” and “a total fiasco”.
Trump told reporters he wanted to get all the facts on Khashoggi’s death at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul before agreeing with the assessment of Erdogan, who had called the killing “political”.
Trump, who sent his CIA director to Turkey to discuss the issue, said he expected to have a report soon.
Henry Hall, associate director at Critical Resource, a resource-focused advisory firm in the UK, said Khashoggi’s killing presents “significant reputational risks” for Western companies doing business with Saudi Arabia.
His comments came as a high-profile investment forum, which was boycotted by global business chiefs and politicians over Khashoggi’s killing, began in Riyadh.
However, Hall said the “decision not to attend the conference is separate to the decision on investing in Saudi Arabia in the longer term”.
“There are huge economic opportunities in Saudi Arabia … and companies will weigh reputational risks with those opportunities,” he said, adding that in the long term, many firms were likely to “follow the lead of international governments, particularly the US”.
Turkish investigators have searched a Saudi consulate vehicle that was found in a car park in Istanbul’s Sultangazi district on Monday, according to media reports.
“We understand that a a number of things have been found in the car, including a personal computer, some clothing and paperwork,” Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford, reporting from the Turkish city, said on Tuesday.
“We understand that there is no confirmation as to whether any of these items belongs to Khashoggi,” he added. “They [investigators] are saying that forensic analysis is needed before anything like that can be confirmed.”
Broadcaster CNN Turk said the search of the vehicle park has been halted and will resume on Wednesday morning.
The foreign ministries of the Group of Seven (G7) countries have made a statement on Khashoggi’s killing and the explanations offered by Saudi Arabia:
“We, the G7 Foreign Ministers, of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and the High Representative of the European Union, condemn in the strongest possible terms the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has confirmed took place in its consulate in Istanbul.
“The confirmation of Mr Jamal Khashoggi’s death is a first step toward full transparency and accountability. However, the explanations offered leave many questions unanswered.
“We reiterate our expectation for a thorough, credible, transparent, and prompt investigation by Saudi Arabia, in full collaboration with the Turkish authorities, and a full and rigorous accounting of the circumstances surrounding Mr. Khashoggi’s death. Those responsible for the killing must be held to account. Saudi Arabia must put in place measures to ensure something like this can never happen again.
“The circumstances of Mr. Khashoggi’s death reaffirm the need to protect journalists and freedom of expression around the world.
“We also extend our deepest condolences to Mr Khashoggi’s family, his fiancee, and his friends.”
MBS has briefly attended a high-profile economic forum in Riyadh that was boycotted by global business chiefs and politicians after Khashoggi’s killing.
Many in the audience of over 2,000 clapped or cheered as the prince, the kingdom’s de facto ruler, entered the main hall on Tuesday, smiling as he sat down next to Jordan’s King Abdullah II.
The 33-year-old arrived at the forum late in the day after attending a meeting at which his father, King Salman, received members of Khashoggi’s family, including the journalist’s son Salah.
MBS said he was “satisfied” with the Future Investment Initiative as he toured the venue.
“Great, more people, more money,” the crown prince told reporters.
He left shortly afterwards, without delivering a speech.
Saudi state media that King Salman and MBS met with members of Khashoggi’s family in Riyadh.
The Saudi rulers met with the journalist’s son, Salah, and his brother, Sahel, at the Yamama Palace, where the royals expressed their condolences, state-run news agency SPA reported.
A friend of the Khashoggi family told The Associated Press news agency that Salah has been under a travel ban since last year. The individual spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing reprisal.
— واس الأخبار الملكية (@spagov) October 23, 2018
Body parts belonging to Jamal Khashoggi have been found, according to a report by Sky News.
The broadcaster said that “well-placed sources within the investigation and within political circles” revealed the 59-year-old was “cut up” and “disfigured” after being killed in Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul on October 2.
One source suggested remains were discovered in the garden of the Saudi consul general’s house.
Sky’s report came just hours after Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for more answers from Riyadh over Khashoggi’s killing during an address to the Turkish parliament in Ankara.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the “savage” killing of Saudi writer and critic Jamal Khashoggi inside Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul was “planned” days before his murder on October 2.
Addressing the Turkish parliament in Ankara, Erdogan raised several questions that he said still needed answering from officials in Riyadh but stopped short of accusing the kingdom’s royals of playing any part in the assassination.
“The Saudi authorities have taken an important step confirming the killing and now we ask Saudi authorities to work hard to reveal the names of those involved, from the bottom to the top,” Erdogan said.
“There are also questions in every mind; why did those 15 people gather in Istanbul on the day they committed the crime and … according to instructions given to them by whom? We need to know,” he added.
Al Jazeera’s Jamal Elshayyal, reporting from outside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, said Erdogan’s address was “anticlimactic”.
“All Erdogan did was wrap up in one speech the different bits of information that were leaked out in the past few weeks,” Elshayyal said.
“[But] he made it very clear that as far as he and his country are concerned this was a pre-planned attempt to murder Jamal Khashoggi, not to kidnap him.”
Russia has heard Saudi Arabia’s denial of any connection between the royal family in Riyadh and the Khashoggi killing and will await further information from investigators, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said.
A spokesperson for British Prime Minister Theresa May, meanwhile, said questions remain outstanding over the killing of Khashoggi, which “only the Saudis have the answers to”.
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said he was “deeply concerned” by Erdogan’s description of the murder as “pre-meditated”.
“The world is still waiting for answers,” Hunt said on Twitter.
In a statement released by his office, Lebanon’s Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri said Saudi’s response to the killing of Khashoggi inside the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul “serves the path of justice and the disclosure of the whole truth”.
Hariri, who has struggled to form a cabinet after being elected for a third term as leader in May, is a long-term ally of Riyadh.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will expose what he has said is the “naked truth” about Khashoggi’s murder on Tuesday.
Turkish media have reported Khashoggi was killed and dismembered based on recordings from the consulate. They say he died at the hands of a 15-member assassination squad from Saudi Arabia.
Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said Turkish investigators have carried out a “sensitive and comprehensive” investigation.
“The issue is not between Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Turkey is taking necessary steps to unveil the incident under international and national law,” Kalin said.
“The issue is to shed light on an atrocious murder. The stance of our president is very clear since the beginning. Nothing will remain hidden regarding this incident.”
Abdulkadir Selvi, whose Hurriyet newspaper columns are closely watched for indications of Erdogan’s thinking in Turkey, wrote Khashoggi was slowly strangled to death before a Saudi forensic specialist cut his body into 15 pieces while listening to music.
Al Jazeera’s Zeina Khodr, reporting from Istanbul, said Erdogan’s speech is expected at 08:45 GMT.
“Expectations are high, it’s been seen as a turning point,” she said.
“Since the disappearance of Khashoggi on Ocober 2, Erdogan really has been a diplomat, choosing his words carefully, not using strong language, not pointing the finger at anyone. But now it seems he wants to reveal details to the world.”
Analysts say Erdogan has preferred to authorise the leak of incriminating information to pro-government media to put pressure on the kingdom.
He has twice held telephone talks with Saudi King Salman on the crisis, interpreted by some as sidelining the ageing monarch’s powerful son MBS.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Ankara is ready to cooperate with any investigation set up by the UN or another international body to examine the killing of Saudi writer and critic Jamal Khashoggi.
In a televised interview with Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency, Cavusoglu praised Saudi Arabia’s admittance of Khashoggi’s killing as “important” and said Riyadh was “more open to cooperation” with Ankara over the case concerning his death following a phone call between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Saudi’s King Salman.
Turkey has not shared evidence on the case with any country but may have held meetings with foreign intelligence services, Cavusoglu added.
Saudi Arabia’s Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan met US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in the kingdom’s capital, Riyadh, a statement from the ministry said.
On Sunday, Mnuchin said Saudi’s explanation of the killing of Saudi writer and critic Jamal Khashoggi inside the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul was a “good first step but not enough”.
Mnuchin, who is on a diplomatic tour of the Middle East, also said it was premature to discuss sanctions over the case.
Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Adel al-Jubeir, said the kingdom was committed to a “comprehensive investigation” into the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey.
All those responsible for the journalist’s death would be detained, the minister told a news conference in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta.
He added that the kingdom had sent a team to Turkey as part of its investigation and pledged that mechanisms will be put in place so that “something like this can never happen again”.
Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and critic of the Saudi government, disappeared after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 to obtain documents for his marriage.
After repeated denials, Saudi Arabia admitted last week that the dissident journalist was killed in a “fist-fight” in the consulate, an explanation that drew scepticism from several Western governments.
Saudi Arabia’s Future Investment Initiative conference, widely dubbed ‘Davos in the desert’, has kicked off in the kingdom’s capital, Riyadh.
Several business leaders and high-profile political figures have boycotted the three-day event over the killing of Saudi writer and critic Jamal Khashoggi inside Saudi’s Istanbul consulate on October 2.
On Tuesday, US newspaper The Wall Street Journal reported that SoftBank Group Corp Chief Executive Masayoshi Son cancelled a speaking engagement at the conference, citing a spokesperson for the event.
Saudi Arabia’s powerful MBS, who is under intense scrutiny over the killing, is expected to attend, however. The event is aimed at attracting foreign investment to the kingdom, which is largely dependent on oil revenues.
In an interview with USA Today, US President Trump said he believed Khashoggi’s death was “a plot gone awry”.
He called Khashoggi’s killing “foolish and stupid”.
Trump said he had talked on the phone with both Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and more details about what happened would be known within a day or two.
“He says he is not involved nor is the king,” Trump said of the powerful crown prince, declining to answer whether he believed his denials.
Trump said he would be “very upset” if it was proven that the Saudi leader was involved.
Earlier the American president told reporters at the White House he’s “not satisfied with what I’ve heard” from the Saudis.
Trump’s comments have varied from playing down Riyadh’s role to warning of possible economic sanctions. He has repeatedly highlighted the kingdom’s importance as a US ally, and said bin Salman was a strong and passionate leader.
The US president indicated he would oppose efforts to cease arms sales to the kingdom in response to the murder. There are “many other” potential penalties, he told the newspaper.
Gina Haspel, director of the US Central Intelligence Agency, is flying to Turkey to work on the probe into Khashoggi’s killing, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters news agency.
US President Trump said earlier he has “top intelligence people in Turkey”, without elaborating.
“I have a great group of people in Turkey right now and a great group of people in Saudi Arabia. We will know very soon what happened to Khashoggi,” Trump said.
The CIA declined to comment on Haspel’s reported travel when asked about it by Anadolu news agency.
Her visit comes as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan prepares to announce the initial findings of Ankara’s investigation on Tuesday.
Exactly three weeks after Khashoggi disappeared, US and European security agencies still have an incomplete picture of what happened at the Saudi consulate.
Six US and Western officials told Reuters they believed MBS was ultimately responsible for Khashoggi’s disappearance because of his role overseeing the Saudi security apparatus – but they lacked hard proof.
“Difficult to say MBS did not know about this,” a Western security source said.
Saudi Arabia’s prominent investment conference, widely dubbed ‘Davos in the Desert’, is set to kick off in the capital Riyadh, though it’s been overshadowed by Khashoggi’s killing.
In recent days the Future Investment Initiative has seen major pull-outs from top global CEOs and finance officials.
The summit is scheduled to begin at 8am (05:00 GMT) and MBS is expected to attend. It is aimed at weaning the kingdom off oil revenues and fostering an economy powered by private investments.
Among the A-list executives who have withdrawn are JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon, HSBC CEO John Flint, Blackrock CEO Larry Fink, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, and the head of German industrial giant Siemens, Joe Kaeser.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and International Monetary Fund head Christine Lagarde are also skipping the event.
At last year’s conference, Saudi Arabia unveiled plans to build a new $500bn dollar investment city, called Neom, located on the kingdom’s northwestern coast by the Red Sea.
Total’s chief executive said he would attend despite rising pressure on business leaders to drop out.
“I am convinced that an ’empty chairs at the table’ strategy serves no useful purpose, especially when it comes to respect for human rights,” Total’s CEO Patrick Pouyanne said in a statement.
The French oil major’s decision comes despite President Emmanuel Macron’s decision last week to pull his finance minister out of the conference.
Another French energy company, state-owned EDF, said its CEO would not attend.
Reuters news agency has reported that Saud al-Qahtani, a former royal court media adviser and top aide to MBS, orchestrated Khashoggi’s killing at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul after being beamed into a room of the building via Skype.
Al-Qahtani was fired on Saturday during Riyadh’s efforts to contain the fallout over Khashoggi’s killing.
In its report, Reuters cited two unnamed Arab and Turkish intelligence sources. According to one of them, a high-ranking Arab source with access to intelligence and links to members of Saudi Arabia’s royal court, Qahtani began to hurl insults at Khashoggi over the phone, Reuters reported.
Khashoggi answered Qahtani’s insults with his own, the sources told Reuters. But he was no match for a 15-man hit team, which included top security and intelligence operatives, some with direct links to the royal court, Reuters said.
A Turkish intelligence source relayed that at one point Qahtani told his men to dispose of Khashoggi. “Bring me the head of the dog”, the Turkish intelligence source told Reuters that Qahtani instructed.
It is not clear if Qahtani watched the entire proceedings, which the high-ranking Arab source described as a “bungled and botched operation”.
The Reuters report came as a Turkish source told Al Jazeera that the Saudi death-squad filmed the killing and dismembering of Khashoggi in full.
The Arab source and the Turkish intelligence source told Reuters the audio of the Skype call is now in the possession of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, who is refusing to release it to the US.
Erdogan said on Sunday he would release information about the Turkish investigation on Tuesday.
Al-Qahtani’s ties to the crown prince are widely known – he once said he would never do anything without the approval of his boss.
“Do you think I make decisions without guidance? I am an employee and a faithful executor of the orders of my lord the king and my lord the faithful crown prince,” Qahtani wrote on Twitter last summer.
Meanwhile, al-Qahtani has changed his job status on Twitter, now describing himself as chairman of the board of directors of the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming and Drones.
He said the federation is a sports union which is non-governmental and works under the umbrella of the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee.
Previously, he identified himself as an adviser at the Saudi royal court with the rank of minister, and supervisor of media studies and affairs.
President Trump has said the US has “people in Saudi Arabia” and “top intelligence” officers in Turkey, as he repeated that he was “not satisfied” with what he has heard from Riyadh about Khashoggi’s killing.
“We’re going to see what we have,” he told reporters at the White House on Monday. “I’ll know a lot tomorrow, they will be coming back either tonight or tomorrow morning.”
Trump said there is “ no reason” for a one-month delay into Saudi Arabia’s investigation into the killing of the Washington Post columnist.
“That’s a long time,” he said, adding he had spoken to MBS.
Trump also repeated he did not want to lose investment from the kingdom.
Meanwhile, Saudi state TV said that MBS held a meeting with US Treasury Steven Mnuchin in Riyadh. The US official said on Sunday he would not attend a major investment conference to be hosted in Riyadh this week, and that his visit was to hold talks on joint efforts toward countering terrorist financing and curbing Iran’s military and political influence.
The Saudi crown prince and Mnuchin “stressed the importance of strategic partnership and the future role of this partnership through Vision 2030”, the Saudi TV said on Twitter, referring to the kingdom’s long-term development plan.Bolton: ‘We want to get the truth, and not just talk’
John Bolton, the US national security adviser, has said Washington wants to know all the details surrounding Khashoggi’s killing, adding that discussions with Saudi authorities on the case are ongoing.
“We want to get the truth, and not just talk,” Bolton, who is on a visit to Moscow, was quoted as saying on Monday by Russian radio station Ekho Moskvy.
“First of all, we need to know why he died. Who killed him?. We want to get the full lowdown on this process.”
Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad described Khashoggi’s killing as “terrible cruelty” and unacceptable.
Malaysia, he said, does not support the killing of government critics. “It is horrible what happened. Cannot accept.
“We all have someone we dislike, but we cannot simply kill him because we don’t like him. I used to be hated by many, and if we have the same system like the Saudi Arabia’s, I probably won’t be here talking to you today.
“Alhamdulillah, we don’t see such acts of tyranny here in our country.”
The prime minister’s comments follow a spate of condemnations from world leaders in recent days.
Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo said he was “deeply concerned” about the killing after he met Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir at the presidential palace.
A report by French publication L’Express has said that a judge in Paris will investigate a legal complaint against MBS over possible human rights abuses in Yemen.
The complaint was filed by two Parisian lawyers, Joseph Breham and Hakim Chergui, on behalf of Mohamed Husein Taha, the representative of Yemeni NGO The Legal Center for Rights and Development, L’Express reported on Monday.
It was submitted in April during the crown prince’s visit to the French capital.
L’Express said the allegations against MBS include “complicity in torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment [of Yemenis]”.
Saudi Arabia has been bombing Yemen since March 2015 after the Houthi rebels swept across the country and toppled the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
Campaigners have accused MBS, who also serves as defence minister, of being the “chief architect” of the Yemen war, which has led to what the UN has described as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
Turkish police have found an abandoned car belonging to the Saudi consulate at an underground car park in Istanbul, three weeks after Khashoggi’s killing at the kingdom’s mission in the city.
The car, which had diplomatic number plates, was found in an underground car park in the city’s Sultangazi district, according to the state-run Anadolu news agency and TRT World channel.
Registration documents showed that the vehicle belonged to the consulate, they added. Police have asked prosecutors and the Saudi consulate for permission to search the vehicle.
Police cordoned off access to the car park, where large numbers of media gathered, an AFP news agency photographer said.
Turkey’s ruling party has said Khashoggi’s killing “was planned in an extremely savage manner”, in the first official indication that Ankara believes a murder plan was coordinated in advance.
“We are being careful so nobody tries to cover the issue up. The truth will come out. Those responsible will be punished, something like this will not cross anybody’s mind any more,” said Omer Celik, spokesperson for the Justice and Development Party (AK Party).
Celik was referring to surveillance footage aired by CNN showing a man dressed as Khashoggi walking around Istanbul after he vanished in an apparent attempt at deception.
Yasin Aktay, one of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s advisers, meanwhile wrote in the Yeni Safak daily that the Saudi version given so far “feels like our intelligence is being mocked”.
Erdogan has said he will release information about Turkey’s investigation in a speech on Tuesday.
The website of the Saudi investment conference set to open in Riyadh this week appears to have been hacked.
The Future Investment Initiative, hosted by MBS and nicknamed “Davos in the Desert”, was intended to showcase the kingdom’s economic reforms, but several big-name investors and companies have withdrawn in the outcry over the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The website’s homepage displayed the message “404 Not Found” on Monday.
Twitter users meanwhile posted screen grabs of the conference’s homepage showing the crown prince standing over a kneeling Khashoggi with a flaming sword.
Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, a well-known travel companion of MBS, made four phone calls to the royal’s office from the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul the day Khashoggi was killed there, a Turkish newspaper has reported.
Yeni Safak reported on Monday that Mutreb made four calls to Bader al-Asaker, head of MBS’s office.
It said another call went to the US.
Newly leaked surveillance footage appears to show a man walking around Istanbul wearing Khashoggi’s clothes after his murder.
CNN aired the footage on Monday, citing a Turkish official as describing the man as a “body double” and a member of a 15-man Saudi team sent to Istanbul to target the writer. He was identified as Mustafa al-Madani.
CNN says the man walked out of the consulate via its back exit with an accomplice, then took a taxi to Istanbul’s famed Sultan Ahmed Mosque, where he went into a public toilet, changed back out of the clothes and left.
In a previously unheard interview with London-based outlet The New Arab (Arabic), Khashoggi is heard criticising bin Salman’s increasingly warm ties with Israel.
Khashoggi said Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas would not succumb to the prince’s pressure to accept a peace plan by the Trump administration because of the popular anger he would face.
In the interview, which took place in February this year, the Washington Post columnist said:
“Abu Mazen (Abbas) told (MBS) ‘hey brother, I cannot do this. My people will eat me alive’.
“Abu Mazen knows the reality on the ground, he knows his people, his situation is bad when it comes to his administration.”
He also dismissed suggestions that Saudi Arabia before 1979 was a better-run state than it is now.
“Saudi was not a liberal state before 1979. It was a religious extremist state,” Khashoggi said.
The Saudi crown prince has promised to reduce the influence of religious leaders in the country, which he says increased after the Iranian Revolution in 1979.
Turkish officials believe that part of Khashoggi’s body was taken out of Turkey by a well-known travel companion of MBS’s bodyguards, according to a report by the Middle East Eye.
Maher Abdulaziz Mutrib is reported to have been seen carrying a large bag, which was not checked as he bypassed security checks through a VIP lounge at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport.
Five Turkish employees of the Saudi consulate in Istanbul are giving statements as witnesses in the investigation into the killing of Saudi journalist Khashoggi, Turkish broadcaster NTV said on Monday.
Last week, 20 consulate workers gave statements to prosecutors in relation to the incident, NTV had reported previously.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in an interview broadcast Sunday that Canada could cancel a multibillion-dollar defence contract with Saudi Arabia following the death of Khashoggi.
Trudeau, speaking on French-language talk show, Tout Le Monde En Parle – recorded Thursday before Riyadh confirmed Khashoggi’s death at its Istanbul consulate – insisted Canada would “always defend human rights, including with Saudi Arabia”.
Canadian regulations for the sale of military equipment include restrictions related to human rights violations and stipulations that military hardware cannot be used against civilians.
Asked about a key deal with Riyadh for the sale of light armoured vehicles worth CAD15bn ($11.4bn), Trudeau said: “in this contract, there are clauses that must be followed in relation to the use of what is sold to them.”
“If they do not follow these clauses, we will definitely cancel the contract.”
Relations between Canada and Saudi Arabia have been tense in recent months.
After Canada criticised the Saudi arrest of human rights activists, the kingdom retaliated by expelling the Canadian ambassador, recalling its own envoy to Ottawa and freezing trade and investment between the two countries.
On Sunday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said her country would not export arms to Saudi Arabia amid the uncertainty around Khashoggi’s death.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo called for a “transparent and thorough” investigation into the death of journalist Khashoggi at a meeting on Monday with Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the Saudi crown prince called presidential adviser and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner on October 10, eight days after Khashoggi went missing.
“Why the outrage?” the prince asked in English, according to people briefed on the conversation, the WSJ said.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US President Trump spoke on the telephone to discuss Khashoggi’s disappearance, the Turkish state-owned Anadolu agency said on Monday morning.
“Erdogan and Trump agreed the Khashoggi case needs to be cleared up with all aspects”, Anadolu said.
Saudi King Salman and MBS both called Khashoggi’s son, Salah, to express their condolences, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
Saudi Arabia has said Khashoggi, 59, died in a fight inside its Istanbul consulate – after two weeks of denials that it had anything to do with his disappearance.
Khashoggi’s son thanked the king and the crown prince, the report said.
Foreign Minister al-Jubeir also extended his condolences to Khashoggi’s family.
“This is a terrible mistake. This is a terrible tragedy. Our condolences go out to them. We feel their pain,” al-Jubeir told US broadcaster, Fox.
“Unfortunately, a huge and grave mistake was made and I assure them that those responsible will be held accountable for this.”
Some observers have speculated the powerful crown prince ordered the killing of Khashoggi – who had criticised bin Salman – but the Saudi leadership has denied any involvement.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US President Trump spoke on the telephone to discuss Khashoggi’s killing, Anadolu news agency reported.
“Erdogan and Trump agreed the Khashoggi case needs to be cleared up with all aspects,” it said.
Anadolu added the two leaders also discussed American pastor Andrew Brunson, cooperation in the fight against terrorism and the roadmap on Syria’s Manbij.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin defended his decision to visit Saudi Arabia later this month despite the continuing turmoil following Khashoggi’s killing.
Last week, Mnuchin announced he would not attend a major economic conference in Riyadh after talks with President Trump about the assassination.
But speaking during a stop in Jerusalem, Mnuchin said the US’s strategic and economic relationship with the Saudis was too important to be put in jeopardy over Khashoggi’s murder.
“We have an important relationship with Saudi, focused on combating terrorist financing and focused on our common interests of stopping Iran’s spread of both terrorism and other issues,” Mnuchin was quoted as saying by The New York Times.
“I am going to go there and meet with my counterparts and continue to focus on what’s in the treasury’s domain, as it relates to this issue.”
The three-day Future Investment Initiative, dubbed “Davos in the desert”, begins on Tuesday in Saudi Arabia. Many corporate heavyweights and prominent politicians have pulled out over Khashoggi’s murder.
Still, organisers said 120 speakers will participate, down from 150.
Turkish authorities have placed the fiancee of murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi under 24-hour police protection, the state-run news agency Anadolu has said.
The Istanbul governor’s office put Hatice Cengiz, a Turkish national who was expected to marry Khashoggi later this month under 24-hour police protection, Anadolu said.
Authorities did not immediately respond to a request for comment on what prompted the decision to give her a security detail.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said she backs a freeze on arms exports to Saudi Arabia following the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.
Merkel told reporters in Berlin on Sunday that “I agree with all those who say that the already limited arms exports … can’t take place in the situation we’re currently in.”
Her foreign minister, Heiko Maas, had already said on Saturday that he currently saw “no basis for decisions in favour of arms exports to Saudi Arabia”.
Last month, Germany approved $480 million worth of arms exports to Saudi Arabia for 2018.
In the past, military exports by Berlin to Saudi have mostly consisted of patrol boats.
Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister has defended the kingdom’s narrative of the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, saying it was comparable to the way the US government responsed to a 2004 CBS expose on the use of torture at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
Adel Al-Jubeir told FOX News that the reason it took the kingdom 18 days to confirm Khashoggi’s killing was because Saudi authorities didn’t “want to put out speculation or hearsay or gossip”.
“When you have a situation like this, you want the information you put out to be as accurate as possible. You don’t want to put out speculation or hearsay or gossip. These things take time. You may want to look back at the issue of Abu Ghraib and the timeline between when the incidents were discovered and when the US government came out with its initial report of what happened. These things take time and you want to be careful.”
When asked if MBS was aware of Khashoggi’s killing, Jubeir hit out saying: “the individuals who did this, do so out of the scope of their authority. There was a tremendous mistake made and what compounded the mistake was the attempt to cover it up.”
He then added: “The people involved weren’t tied to him. There were pictures of some security officers who may have been part of his security detail from time to time but this is normal. People who deal in security details rotate among different officials both domestic and foreign, so having somebody in a picture does not imply they are close – not at all – the Crown Prince has denied this. Even the senior leadership of our intelligence service was not aware of this.
“This was a rogue operation. This was an operation where individuals ended up exceeding the authorities and responsibilities they had, and they made a mistake by killing Jamal Khashoggi in the consulate and they tried to cover-up for it.”
When asked whether Khashoggi’s body was dismembered, Jubeir said the kingdom was “working” on finding this out with its Turkish counterparts.
The office of Turkey’s prosecutor general has obtained evidence that shows Jamal Khashoggi’s killing at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul was planned in advance, according to a source at the prosecutor general’s office.
The source, who spoke to Al Jazeera on Sunday on condition of anonymity, said the evidence found by the Turkish criminal investigation team fully supports the prosecutor general’s view of the circumstances of the journalist’s killing, without elaborating.
According to the source, Turkish authorities have received official statements from 15 Saudi suspects but did not ask for them to be brought to Turkey, pending completion of the investigation.
Turkish media reports have released information detailing a 15-member team that purportedly arrived in Istanbul to confront Khashoggi at the consulate.
In addition to receiving statements from those present when Khashoggi was killed on October 2, investigators have also questioned 25 staff members who work at the consulate, the source said.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday he would announce details of the Turkish investigation into Khashoggi’s killing on Tuesday.
The UK, France and Germany have issued a joint statement condemning the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, saying there was an “urgent need for clarification of exactly what happened.”
In a statement issued on Sunday, the governments said “nothing can justify this killing and we condemn it in the strongest possible terms. “
They said the “hypotheses” proposed so far in the Saudi investigation need to be backed by facts to be considered credible.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he reveal the “naked truth” over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi on Tuesday.
“We are looking for justice here and this will be revealed in all its naked truth, not through some ordinary steps but in all its naked truth,” Erdogan told a rally in Istanbul.
Bob Corker, a Republican senator and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee says MBS “crossed a line” in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Corker told CNN’s “State of the Union” that Saudi Arabia had “lost all credibility as it relates to explaining what has happened,” and that based on his briefings he believed MBS directed the killing of the Washington Post columnist.
“I’m not rushing to judgement – do I think he [MBS] did it [kill Khashoggi] – Yes, I think he did it,” Corker told CNN’s Jake Tapper.
“The United States and the rest of the world will believe he did it.”
In the interview, Corker also criticised MBS’s supposed anti-corruption drive when more than 200 powerful Saudis were arrested last November, and the blockade placed on Saudi Arabia’s Gulf neighbour Qatar.
“When you look [at] what he did when he came to power, he got the opposition in the Ritz Carlton. Detained them there. Tortured many of them.
“And if you look at the rookie mistake he made with Qatar, where without even talking to us they put in place this blockade. He has made some mistakes and obviously if he had gone forth and murdered this journalist, he’s now crossed the line, and there needs to be a punishment and a price payed for that.”
GOP Sen. Bob Corker says he thinks Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince was behind the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi: “Do I think he did it? Yes, I think he did it. Let’s finish this investigation” #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/e0qv5dKie4
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) October 21, 2018
US President Trump has accused Saudi Arabia of lying about the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, in his strongest comments to date.
“Obviously there’s been deception and there’s been lies,” he said in an interview with the Washington Post published late on Saturday.
“Their stories are all over the place,” Trump added.
But the US President stopped far short of blaming MBS, also known as MBS, of the murder saying he has yet to be shown any evidence by intelligence officials that would make him believe MBS had any direct role.
“Nobody has told me he’s responsible. Nobody has told me he’s not responsible. We haven’t reached that point. I haven’t heard either way,” Trump said.
Pakistan’s Foreign Office has said it welcomes the contacts between Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and their desire to continue to work together to address the Jamal Khashoggi issue.
“We welcome the steps taken by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Turkey to address this issue. Disclosing facts to the public and bringing those responsible to justice is important in this regard,” it said.
A Saudi official has told the Reuters news agency that the team of 15 Saudis who were sent to confront Khashoggi on October 2 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.
They then tried to restrain him and placed him in a chokehold and covered his mouth.
Asked if the team had smothered Khashoggi, the official said: “If you put someone of Jamal’s age in this position, he would probably die.”
A member of the 15-man-team then dressed in Khashoggi’s clothes to make it appear as if he had left the consulate, the official added.
Britain says Saudi Arabia’s explanation for how Jamal Khashoggi died inside Riyadh’s consulate in Istanbul is not credible.
“No, I don’t think it is credible,” said Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, adding: “We support the Turkish investigation into it and the British government will want to see people held to account for that death.”
The UK joins a growing list of countries to pour cold water on Saudi Arabia’s latest official attempt to explain the Washington Post columnist’s disappearance.
Canada has also cast doubt and German leader Angela Merkel has called the official Saudi explanation “inadequate”.
A report in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) citing two unnamed members of the Saudi royal family says a Saudi emissary sent to Ankara by King Salman heard an audio recording that dispels the official Saudi explanation that Khashoggi was killed in a brawl.
Prince Khalid al-Faisal allegedly had access to evidence that the journalist was “drugged, killed, and dismembered” shortly after entering the consulate, the report says.
“The audio does not have this nonsense about a fight that broke out after an argument,” one royal told the WSJ.
This account also contradicts the story offered in the previous post, in which an unnamed Saudi official told Reuters that Khashoggi’s body had not been cut up.
Prince Khalid al Faisal, an envoy of King Salman, has access to audio that shows Khashoggi was drugged, killed and dismembered within minutes of entering the consulate—not after a fist fight. https://t.co/jvOLCE4cTf pic.twitter.com/KmFEsMoO1u
— Rebecca Ballhaus (@rebeccaballhaus) October 21, 2018
As Saudi Arabia faced intensifying international scepticism over its story about the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a senior government official laid out a new version of the death inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul that in key respects contradicts previous explanations.
The latest account, provided by a Saudi official who requested anonymity, includes details on how the team of 15 Saudi nationals sent to confront Khashoggi on October 2 had threatened him with being drugged and kidnapped and then killed him in a chokehold when he resisted.
A member of the team then dressed in Khashoggi’s clothes to make it appear as if he had left the consulate.
Turkish officials suspect the body of Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and critic of MBS, was cut up but the Saudi official said it was rolled up in a rug and given to a “local cooperator” for disposal. Asked about allegations that Khashoggi had been tortured and beheaded, he said preliminary results of the investigation did not suggest that.
The official presented what he said were internal intelligence documents which appeared to show the initiative to bring back dissidents as well as the specific one involving Khashoggi. He also showed testimony from those involved in what he described as the 15-man team’s cover-up, and the initial results of an internal probe.
Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freedland has condemned the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi and offered her “sincere condolences” to his fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, and his family.
“The explanations offered (by Saudi Arabia) to date lack consistency and credibility,” she said in a statement, further calling for a “through investigation”.
“Those responsible for the killing must be held to account and must face justice,” Freedland added.
The Washington Post has refused to accept Saudi Arabia’s explanation for the killing of Khashoggi, who was one of the paper’s columnists, accusing the kingdom of lying and carrying out a cover-up.
“The government of Saudi Arabia has shamefully and repeatedly offered one lie after another in the nearly three weeks since Jamal Khashoggi disappeared in their Istanbul consulate,” Fred Ryan, the newspaper’s publisher and chief executive, said in a statement.
“Offering no proof, and contrary to all available evidence, they now expect the world to believe that Jamal died in a fight following a discussion. This is not an explanation; it is a cover-up.
“President Trump, Congress and leaders of the civilised world should demand to see verifiable evidence. The Saudis cannot be allowed to fabricate a face-saving solution to an atrocity that appears to have been directed by the highest levels of their government.”
US President Trump has said questions remain unanswered over Khashoggi’s killing following Saudi Arabia’s admission that the journalist died in a “fist-fight” inside its consulate.
Asked during a trip to Nevada if he was satisfied that Saudi officials had been fired over Khashoggi’s death, Trump said: “No, I am not satisfied until we find the answer. But it was a big first step, it was a good first step. But I want to get answers.”
But Trump warned against halting a Saudi arms deal, saying it would hurt American jobs, despite the international furor over the death in the conservative kingdom’s Istanbul consulate of a dissident journalist.
“We have $450bn, $110bn of which is a military order, but this is equipment and various things ordered from Saudi Arabia,” Trump told reporters about an agreement to sell weapons to Riyadh.
“It’s over a million jobs; that’s not helpful for us to cancel an order like that. That hurts us far more than it hurts them,” he added, noting Riyadh could obtain the weapons from other countries like China or Russia.
“But there are other things that could be done, including sanctions.”
Riyadh has been a key ally of the US for decades and only grew closer under the Trump administration.
Trump has pointed to a “$450bn” arms deal with Saudi Arabia and the kingdom’s position as a bulwark to Iranian expansion in the region as reasons to continue close relations.
It is unclear from where Trump drew the $450bn figure. The US and Saudi Arabia announced a $350bn arms deal before Trump’s first trip to Saudi Arabia as president. Roughly $110bn of that deal, which is set to extend over 10 years, was effective immediately, according to CNBC.
On Friday, Trump had said he believed Saudi Arabia’s explanation was credible.
A New York Times report on Saturday said Saudi authorities were making use of an “army of Twitter trolls” to silence critics, including Khashoggi.
In its report, titled Saudis “Image Makers: A Troll Army and a Twitter Insider”, the daily claimed that authorities in Riyadh were conducting operations on Twitter to silence voices critical of the Saudi leadership and MBS in particular.
The report is based on interviews with seven people involved in those activities or “briefed on them; activists and experts who have studied them; and American and Saudi officials, along with messages seen by The New York Times that described the inner workings of the troll farm”.
Under the directive of the crown prince, “Saudi operatives have mobilized to harass critics on Twitter”, which became especially popular since the Arab Spring uprisings in 2010.
“Saud al-Qahtani, a top adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed who was fired on Saturday in the fallout from Mr. Khashoggi’s killing, was the strategist behind the operation, according to United States and Saudi officials, as well as activist organisations,” the report said.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said his country condemned the killing of Khashoggi and called for a thorough investigation into the incident.
“France condemns this murder in the strongest terms,” Le Drian said in a statement.
“The confirmation of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi’s death is a first step toward the establishment of the truth. However, many questions remain unanswered,” he added.
Le Drian added that those responsible for Khashoggi’s death should be held accountable.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned Khashoggi’s killing in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and said explanations given so far of the circumstances surrounding his death were inadequate.
“We condemn this act in the strongest terms,” she and Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said in a joint statement.
“We expect transparency from Saudi Arabia about the circumstances of his death […] The information available about events in the Istanbul consulate is inadequate.”
Expressing deep sympathy to Khashoggi’s friends and relatives, they said those responsible for his death must be held accountable.
Remembering Jamal Khashoggi – the prominent Saudi journalist whose 30-year career came to an end when he was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. pic.twitter.com/zulzY4NrTX
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) October 20, 2018
Turkey will uncover the full details of Khashoggi’s killing using all possible means, a spokesperson for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) said.
“Turkey will reveal whatever happened. Nobody should ever doubt it,” spokesperson Omer Celik was quoted as saying by Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency.
“We are not accusing anyone in advance but we don’t accept anything remaining covered [up],” Celik added.
Turkish-Arab Media Association President Turan Kislakci said the group wants “true justice” for Khashoggi and the “authority that gave the orders” to kill the Saudi dissident punished.
“We need to know where Jamal’s body is […] and we want the rest of the world to know how it happened and what happened exactly,” Kislakci said in a statement to reporters outside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Amnesty International has called for an independent probe into Khashoggi’s killing and demanded Saudi Arabia “immediately produce” his body so an autopsy can be performed by forensic experts “in accordance with international standards“.
“The investigation findings by the Saudi authorities claiming that Khashoggi died as a result of a “fist-fight” inside the consulate are not trustworthy and marks an abysmal new low to Saudi Arabia’s human rights record,” Samah Hadid, Amnesty’s director of campaigns for the Middle East, said in a statement.
“His family and the world deserve the full truth about what happened to him, and those responsible, however high their rank or status, must face justice,” Hadid added.
“An independent investigation will be the only guarantee against what increasingly appears as a Saudi whitewash surrounding the circumstances of Khashoggi’s murder or any attempts by other governments to sweep the issue under the carpet to preserve lucrative arms deals and other business ties with Riyadh.”
European leaders have demanded further examination of Khashoggi’s killing after Saudi Arabia’s confession on Saturday that the 59-year-old writer and critic died during a “fist-fight” in the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel rejected Saudi’s explanation of Khashoggi’s death.
Merkel said the “horrific events” had not been “cleared up”, Bloomberg reported.
“Of course we demand that they be cleared up,” Merkel added.
Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen also expressed scepticism over the Saudi’s account of Khashoggi’s death.
“The fact that the Saudis last night confirmed that he died, after previously insisting he left the consulate alive, shows that we haven’t been told the full truth, and we must insist on getting that,” Bloomberg quoted Rasmussen as saying.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said “a lot still remains uncertain” in the case.
“A lot still remains uncertain. What happened? How did he die? Who is responsible? I expect and I hope that all relevant facts will be clear as soon as possible … Thorough investigation is necessary,” Rutte told reporters in Denmark’s capital, Copenhagen.
European Parliament President Antonio Tajani, meanwhile, called for an international investigation to examine the evidence linked to Khashoggi’s death.
“[A] rigorous, international investigation [is] urgently needed to examine evidence, clarify circumstances surrounding death of Jamal Khashoggi,” Tajani said in a post on Twitter.
Saudi Arabia’s allies in the Middle East rallied behind the kingdom over its response to the ongoing investigation into the killing of Saudi writer and critic Khashoggi.
Egypt praised Saudi’s King Salman for taking “decisive” action over the killing of dissident Saudi journalist Khashoggi.
On Saturday, Saudi state media reported that King Salman had ordered the formation of a ministerial committee, headed by MBS, to restructure the Kingdom’s intelligence services.
“Egypt sees that the brave and decisive decisions and actions taken by the Saudi King over this matter align with his majesty’s approach that respects the principles of law and applications of effective justice,” the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The ministry offered its condolences to Khashoggi’s family and said it was confident the ongoing probe into his death would reveal the truth.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) also voiced support for Saudi’s King Salman and commended his “directives and decisions … on the issue of Kashoggi”, UAE’s state-run WAM news agency reported.
Bahrain, meanwhile, said in an official statement that Saudi Arabia “will remain a state of justice, value and principles”, the Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV network reported.
Saudi Arabia had no choice but to reveal preliminary results from an investigation into Khashoggi’s disappearance and alleged murder because of evidence gathered by Turkish officials, the head of human rights for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) said in a statement.
Further evidence will be released soon, Layla Sahin Usta said, as a Turkish-led probe into the 59-year-old’s fate remains ongoing against a backdrop of widespread skepticism over Saudi’s version of events.
On Saturday, Saudi state media reported Khashoggi was killed in a “fist-fight” with the Kingdom’s officials inside its consulate in the Turkish city of Istanbul.
The announcement marked a U-turn from the Kingdom, which had previously denied the 60-year-old died inside the building.
Britain is considering its “next steps” following Saudi Arabia’s admission over the killing of Khashoggi within the Kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul, the UK’s foreign ministry said in a statement.
“We send our condolences to Jamal Khashoggi’s family after this confirmation of his death. We are considering the Saudi report and our next steps,” the statement said.
“As the Foreign Secretary has said, this was a terrible act and those responsible must be held to account,” the statement added.
The UK’s main opposition Labour party has called on the governing Conservative Party to suspend arms sales to the kingdom.
Marwan Kabalan, director of policy and analysis at the Doha-based Arab Center for Research & Policy Studies, said the uproar sparked by the killing of Khashoggi has posed the “most serious diplomatic crisis for Saudi Arabia since September 11 ”.
“The [Saudi’s] story will not be convincing to many people; it’s very difficult to believe the hit squad that arrived in Istanbul came to have a discussion with Khashoggi,” Kabalan told Al Jazeera.
“I think with the help of their friends in Washington – I’m talking about President Donald Trump, who is trying to provide them with an exit and way out – they may think that they are close to closing this case,” he added.
“But I don’t think so because it very much depends on whether the Turks are going to accept this [Saudi] story. The Turks [may] have their own version of what happened in the consulate.”
Former CIA intelligence officer Glenn Carle told Al Jazeera the “absurdity of the crumbling cover stories” would bring a smile to the face of anyone paying attention.
The newest account, in which Khashoggi died during a fight with consulate officials, was right to draw ire, Carle said.
“As though a 59 or 60-year-old man would walk into a consulate … and pick a fight with 15 thugs. I don’t think so. So the story is foolish.”
Carle said Trump’s statements affirming that he believes the Saudi account of what happened were “stupid and offensive” but “characteristic”.
“Trump has clearly been accepting whatever the Saudis say “in order to maintain relations”, Carle concluded.
Here’s how the world reacted to Saudi Arabia’s announcement confirming Jamal Khashoggi was killed in its consulate in Istanbul.
Major General Ahmed Al-Asiri was sacked as Saudi Arabia’s deputy intelligence chief on Friday, Saudi state media reported.
Al-Asiri has served as an adviser to bin Salman, who promoted him to his intelligence position last year, and is considered to be one of MBS’ closest aides.
He is “a key figure within the royal household, a very senior figure,” Al Jazeera’s Andrew Simmons reported from Istanbul, following the announcement. “He has been fingered by the royal household as being partly to blame for this.”
Saudi Arabia has been paying UK firms million of pounds to help improve the kingdom’s image in recent years, a Guardian investigation found on Friday.
Saudi Arabia’s reputation has been hit hard in recent years due to its record on human rights and its role in the war in Yemen, but especially following the killing of Washington Post journalist Khashoggi.
Firms that have worked to boost Saudi Arabia’s image include PR agency Freud’s – which is now distancing itself from the kingdom; the London office of online publisher Vice which has been working on a series of films to promote Saudi Arabia; the Independent, which established a partnership with a Saudi publisher with close links to the Saudi government; and the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change.
A Saudi publishing company that is signing partnerships with western media firms donated to the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change in exchange for his advice for Saudi Arabia, the Guardian reported.
US President Trump says he’d prefer “some form of sanction” on Saudi Arabia after Khashoggi’s death, but added that he wants to protect arms sale.
US President Trump told reporters that he doesn’t think the Saudi leadership lied to him when they denied Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul.
Trump said he will speak to the Saudi crown prince.
US President Trump said Saudi Arabia’s announcement on Saturday confirming Jamal Khashoggi’s death is a “good first step, a big step”.
Trump said what happened to Khashoggi is “unacceptable”, adding however, that he thinks Saudi Arabia’s explanation was credible.
Saudi Arabia’s crown prince had no knowledge of the specific operation that resulted in the death of Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul, a Saudi official familiar with the investigation told Reuters on Friday.
“There were no orders for them to kill him or even specifically kidnap him,” said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity and adding that there was a standing order to bring critics of the kingdom back to the country.
“MBS had no knowledge of this specific operation and certainly did not order a kidnapping or murder of anybody. He will have been aware of the general instruction to tell people to come back,” the source said, using the initials of MBS.
The source said the whereabouts of Khashoggi’s body were unclear after it was handed over to a “local cooperator” but there was no sign of it at the consulate.
A high-ranking Democratic US congressman is expressing doubts about the credibility of Saudi Arabia’s explanation that Jamal Khashoggi was killed in a fight inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
California Representative Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee, said Friday that Saudi Arabia’s claim that he was “killed while brawling with a team of more than a dozen dispatched from Saudi Arabia is not credible”.
Schiff says that if Khashoggi was fighting inside the consulate, he was “fighting for his life with people sent to capture or kill him”.
He says if Trump’s Republican administration won’t hold Saudi Arabia accountable for Khashoggi’s death, Congress will.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is “deeply troubled” by the confirmation of Jamal Khashoggi, a UN spokesman said.
The spokesman added that Guterres “stresses the need for a prompt, thorough and transparent investigation” into the circumstances surrounding Khashoggi’s death.
Democratic Senator Bob Menendez said on Twitter: “We have proven that international pressure can succeed. Our united outrage clearly factored into the Saudi gov’s calculated admission”.
The senator, who is the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was part of a group of senators who triggered the Magnitsky Act earlier this month, which requires the US president to determine whether Khashoggi’s rights were violated and whether to impose targeted sanctions.
Following the news of Saudi Arabia’s confirmation, Menendez said: The Global Magnitsky Act doesn’t have exceptions for accidents. Even if Khashoggi died because of an altercation, that’s no excuse for his murder.
The White House acknowledged in a statement the Saudi announcement on the investigation of Khashoggi’s death.
“We are saddened to hear confirmation of Mr. Khashoggi’s death, and we offer our deepest condolences to his family, fiance and friends,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.
She added that the US will continue to closely follow the international investigations into the incident and “advocate for justice that is timely, transparent and in accordance with all due process”.
US Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who has been outspoken on Khashoggi’s disappearance, tweeted: “To say that I am skeptical of the new Saudi narrative about Mr Khashoggi is an understatement.”
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has ordered the restructuring of the command of the general intelligence agency under the supervision of MBS, the official Saudi press agency said on Saturday.
The agency added the order also included updating regulations, determining the agency’s powers, and evaluating its methods and procedures. The committee, according to the King’s order, should report to the King within a month.
Saudi state-run news agency says “the kingdom expresses its deep regret” over the slaying of writer Jamal Khashoggi.
Saudi King Salman has proposal to restructure kingdom’s intelligence services after Khashoggi killing, state media reported.
A statement from the Saudi public prosecutor said a fight broke out between Khashoggi and people who met him in the consulate and led to his death.
“The investigations are still underway and 18 Saudi nationals have been arrested,” the statement on state media said
The Saudi kingdom fired royal court adviser Saud al-Qahtani and deputy intelligence chief Ahmed Asiri, state media said.
Saudi Arabia said on Saturday preliminary results of investigations showed US-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi died in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul after a fight with people he met there, state media reported.
Saudi Arabia’s Future Investment Initiative, dubbed “Davos in the Desert”, will go ahead later this month with an updated programme that includes heads of state from the Arab world, Africa and Asia, according to a conference spokeseperson.
The spokesperson added that the conference will include “business leaders, investors and innovators from across the world”.
A string of Western executives have pulled out of Riyadh’s Future Investment Initiative conference in the wake of Khashoggi’s disappearance.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned of a “wide range” of responses should Washington determine that Saudi Arabia is behind the disappearance and apparent death of Khashoggi.
“We’ll certainly consider a wide range of potential responses, but I think the important thing to do is that the facts come out,” Pompeo told Voice of America radio.
The US is Saudi Arabia’s biggest backer and the feared murder of Khashoggi has presented President Trump with one of the most acute foreign policy crises of his nearly two-year-old presidency.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has not seen or heard any purported recordings from the Saudi consulate in Turkey, President Trump said in a tweet.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was never given or shown a Transcript or Video of the Saudi Consulate event. FAKE NEWS!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 19, 2018
Both Pompeo and Turkey’s foreign ministry dismissed media reports that said Ankara had shared audio recordings from the ongoing investigation.
Foreign direct investment in Saudi Arabia had already fallen to historically low levels before Khashoggi went missing.
But since the allegations of his murder, many multinational companies and individuals say they are not going to a Saudi investment summit due to be held in Riyadh next week.
Find out more by watching the video below.
A former head of Britain’s MI6 spy agency said Khashoggi was probably killed on the orders of people close to MBS.
John Sawers, who headed MI6 between 2009 and 2014, told the BBC that “all the evidence points to it being ordered and carried out” by people close to Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler.
“I don’t think he would have done this if he hadn’t thought he had license from the U.S. administration to frankly behave as he wished to do so,” he said.
Sawyers said Khashoggi’s disappearance was a wake-up call to the Trump administration about “just how dangerous it is to have people acting with a sense that they have impunity in their relationship with the United States.”
Swiss engineering group ABB has said Chief Executive Officer Ulrich Spiesshofer will not attend the Future Investment Initiative in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, next week.
Spiesshofer joins other world business and political leaders who have withdrawn amid concern about Khashoggi’s fate. ABB did not give a reason for his decision.
Airbus defence chief Dirk Hoke and Deutsche Bank’s CEO Christian Sewing also dropped out.
Citing five sources close to the Saudi royal family, Reuters news agency reported that King Salman, long absent from the day to day running of the kingdom, has felt compelled to intervene as the Khashoggi crisis deepened.
Since outmanoeuvring his rivals to become Saudi Arabia’s de-facto leader in 2017, MBS’s portfolio of tasks had slowly expanded to include issues such as economic diversification, diplomacy and defence.
This came to a sharp halt with the disappearance of Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
The report notes that the king, initially unaware of the Khashoggi crisis, eventually sent his most trusted aide, Prince Khaled al-Faisal, governor of Mecca, to meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on October 11.
“The selection of Khaled, a senior royal with high status, is telling as he is the king’s personal adviser, his right hand man and has very strong ties and a friendship with Erdogan,” Reuters quoted a Saudi source with links to government circles as saying.
One of the sources told Reuters that the king’s unawareness was partly “because MBS aides had been directing the king to glowing news about the country on Saudi TV channels”.
“Even if MBS wanted to keep this away from the king he couldn’t because the story about Khashoggi’s disappearance was on all the Arab and Saudi TV channels watched by the king,” another unnamed source said.
“The King started asking aides and MBS about it. MBS had to tell him and asked him to intervene when Khashoggi’s case became a global crisis.”
Turkish investigators were able to locate the exact place within the Saudi consulate where Khashoggi was allegedly killed during their search of the building earlier this week, Turkish sources have told Al Jazeera.
The investigators, who used audio recordings of Khashoggi’s alleged murder to guide their search, also confirmed that Salah Muhammad al-Tubaigy, an autopsy expert, began cutting up the 60-year-old’s body immediately after he was killed, the sources said.
Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford, reporting from outside the consulate in Istanbul, said the leaks showed Turkish officials were growing “increasingly frustrated with the pace of the investigation”.
“That frustration is now pushing the Turks to release more information and the more information that is being leaked, the more seemingly macabre and shocking it [this case] has become,” Stratford said.
European aerospace giant Airbus said the chief of its defence and space division, Dirk Hoke, will not attend Saudi Arabia’s Future Investment Initiative conference, scheduled to begin in Riyadh on October 23.
“A guideline has been issued to abstain from high profile engagements at this point in time. However, we believe it is important to maintain engagement and dialogue in a country which hosts about 1,000 of our employees,” a spokesman said.
Hoke’s pull out marks the latest high-profile business boycott of the event, widely dubbed “Davos in the Desert”, as international scrutiny and media focus on Saudi Arabia continues to escalate following the disappearance of Saudi writer and critic Jamal Khashoggi.
On Thursday, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced he would not attend after talks with US President Trump.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has dismissed reports Ankara shared audio recordings documenting the alleged murder of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi with the US, according to Reuters news agency.
On Thursday, reports suggested Turkish officials had provided US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with a recording indicating Khashoggi was killed by Saudi operatives after entering the Kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul earlier this month.
Cavusoglu also said Turkey has evidence and information obtained from its ongoing investigation into Khashoggi’s disappearance on October 2, and will share the results of the probe “transparently” with the world.
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the UK government will take a “considered” response to any results that emerge from the ongoing investigation into the disappearance of Khashoggi.
He also warned that allegations the Saudi writer and critic was brutally murdered would be totally unacceptable if proven to be true.
“Part of our reaction will depend on the Saudi reaction, and whether we sense that they are taking it as seriously as we are taking it. But this is a very, very serious matter,” Hunt told the BBC.
“Our relationship with Saudi is a strategic relationship as well. Our response will be considered … [but] in the end, if these stories are true, we have to be absolutely clear, it would not be consistent with our values.”
Amnesty International UK has warned tennis superstars Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic their participation in an exhibition match due to be held in the Saudi city of Jeddah in December could “sportswash” the Kingdom’s “truly appalling human rights record”, UK newspaper The Times reported.
Announced earlier this month, the so-called King Salman Tennis Championship, has come under increased scrutiny as a result of mounting international concern and media focus regarding the fate of missing Saudi writer and critic Jamal Khashoggi.
“It’s not for us to say which countries should and shouldn’t be hosting sporting competitions, but it’s also clear that countries like Saudi Arabia are well aware of the potential for sport to subtly ‘rebrand’ a country,” The Times quoted Allan Hogarth, head of advocacy and programmes at Amnesty International UK, as saying.
“Even before the extremely alarming case of Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi Arabia had a truly appalling human rights record and any sportsperson needs to understand that their participation in sporting events in the country could be used as a form of ‘sportswashing’,” Hogarth added.
“It’s up to Nadal and Djokovic where they play their lucrative exhibition matches, but if they go to Jeddah we’d like to see them using their profiles to raise human rights issues. Tweeting support for Saudi Arabia’s brave human rights defenders would be a start.”
Neither of the pair have made any public comment regarding the event since October 7, when they both said on Twitter they were “looking forward to playing [the match] and visiting [Saudi Arabia]”.
Saudi rulers are considering blaming a top intelligence official close to MBS for the suspected killing of Jamal Khashoggi, the New York Times reported.
Citing three people with knowledge of the Saudi plans, the newspaper said Saudi Arabia is planning to assign blame to General Ahmed al-Assiri, a high-ranking adviser to the crown prince.
People close to the White House have already been briefed about the plan and given Assiri’s name, the Times said.
“The Saudis are already pointing to General Assiri as the culprit,” it reported.
Assiri previously served as the spokesman for the Saudi-Emirati led military coalition fighting in Yemen.
According the Times, the Saudi leadership is expected to say Assiri received the green-light from the crown prince to rendition Khashoggi to Saudi Arabia, but he either “misunderstood his instructions or overstepped”, according to two sources speaking on condition of anonymity.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo listened to an alleged audio recording of Khashoggi’s killing, ABC News reported, citing a senior Turkish official.
The Turkish official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Pompeo listened to the recording on Wednesday during a meeting in Turkey, adding he was also given a transcript of it.
Turkish officials also believe Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi consulate following a struggle that lasted eight minutes and they believe he died of strangulation.
The State Department denied the report. “Secretary Pompeo has neither heard a tape nor has he seen a transcript related to Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance,” spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.
More than 40 lawmakers pressed US President Trump to impose sanctions against Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi’s disappearance and suspected murder.
“If your immediate investigation and determination are consistent with ongoing media reports about this outrageous action, we urge strong, comprehensive sanctions,” members of the House of Representatives said in a letter, which also called for an end to US support for Saudi Arabia’s military action in Yemen.
Democratic Congressman Jim McGovern introduced a bill in the House of Representatives that would halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia unless Secretary of State Mike Pompeo certifies the kingdom did not order the killing of Khashoggi. The bill currently has eight co-sponsors from both political parties.
The lawmakers also voiced support for their colleagues in the Senate, who have already triggered an investigation into Khashoggi’s disappearance under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act.
NEW: Today, more than 40 lawmakers joined me in urging President Trump to enforce strong sanctions on those responsible for the murder & dismemberment of American resident, @washingtonpost journalist Jamal Khashoggi. pic.twitter.com/C0VAzrYnu6
— Lloyd Doggett (@RepLloydDoggett) October 18, 2018
Vice President Mike Pence said after Saudi Arabia reports the results of its investigation – and the administration looks at other available information – it will decide what to do next.
“The world needs to know what happened here, and those who are responsible need to be held to account,” Pence said.
“We’ll collect all the evidence and then the president will have a decision about what the proper course of action is for us going forward. The world deserves answers. If what has been alleged occurred – if an innocent person lost their life at the hands of violence – that’s to be condemned.
“If a journalist, in particular, lost their life at the hands of violence, that’s an affront to a free and independent press around the world, and there will be consequences. But, we’ll wait for the facts. We’ll wait for all the information to come in.”
US President Trump says it “certainly looks” as though Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi is dead.
Trump did not say what he based his conclusion on, but told reporters at Andrews Air Force Base the consequences for the Saudis “will have to be very severe” if they are found to have killed him.
“It’s bad, bad stuff,” he said.
Turkish investigators widened their probe into Khashoggi’s disappearance to include three different areas on the outskirts of Istanbul, officials told Al Jazeera.
“Investigators tracked the vehicles that left the Saudi consulate and consul general’s residence on the day Khashoggi disappeared to these areas. They used traffic cameras to do that,” Al Jazeera’s Jamal Elshayyal said, citing sources at the Turkish prosecutor’s office.
One area investigators are searching was a forest called Belgrad, roughly 16km from Istanbul’s city centre, Elshayyal said, while the other was farmland in Turkey’s Yalova province, about 93km east of the city.
Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, a member of Crown Prince Mohammed’s entourage during several trips abroad walked into the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul just before Khashoggi vanished there, according to photos published by Turkish newspaper Sabah.
Surveillance pictures published by Sabah show Mutreb walking past police barricades at the consulate at 9:55am on October 2 with several men trailing behind him.
Khashoggi arrived at the consulate several hours later at 1:14pm, and never re-emerged.
Four prominent human rights and press freedom groups urged Turkey to request a UN investigation into Khashoggi’s suspected murder to prevent a “whitewash” of the alleged crime.
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders said Turkey should enlist the UN “to initiate a timely, credible, and transparent investigation”.
“UN involvement is the best guarantee against a Saudi whitewash or attempts by other governments to sweep the issue under the carpet to preserve lucrative business ties with Riyadh,” said Robert Mahoney, deputy executive director of the CPJ.
Secretary of US Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, says he will not attend next week’s investment conference in Saudi Arabia as a probe continues into the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
— Steven Mnuchin (@stevenmnuchin1) October 18, 2018
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he told President Trump that the US should give Saudi Arabia a few more days to wrap up its investigation into Khashoggi’s disappearance.
“I told President Trump this morning that we ought to give them a few more days … so that we too have a complete understanding of the facts” before deciding on a response, Pompeo told reporters at the White House.
Vladimir Putin says Russia will wait for the outcome of an investigation into Khashoggi’s disappearance before deciding what impact the writer’s fate may have on relations with Saudi Arabia.
Speaking at an international policy forum in Sochi, the Russian president called Khashoggi’s disappearance a “tragedy”, but said Moscow needs “to understand what happened” before deciding what impact it may have on ties with Riyadh.
“Those who believe that there was a murder must present evidence,” he said.
A former US Vice President has criticised Trump’s response to Khashoggi’s disappearance, saying the president “coddles” dictators.
Joe Biden told CBS’ “This Morning” programme that if Saudi Arabia is found to be responsible for the journalist’s suspected murder, the kingdom should “absolutely, positively” face consequences.
Biden, who has been tipped as a potential Democratic presidential candidate for the 2020 elections, said the “retaliation” could take the form of cancelled arms sales.
He added that his doubts about Crown Prince Mohammed leadership have “been confirmed”.
“My doubts are that there’s very little of rule of law, respect for human rights, dignity and the allegations that are made so far – we don’t know yet – are not inconsistent with the way the kingdom would act and so I’m very worried that the president seems to have a love affair with autocrats and the idea that he’s already making excuses before the facts are known is typical but it hurts us internationally,” he said.
British trade minister Liam Fox has pulled out of the Saudi investment summit, saying the time “was not right for him” to attend the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh on October 23.
“The UK remains very concerned about Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance,” a spokesperson for the minister said. “Those bearing responsibility for his disappearance must be held to account.”
Sources in the Turkish police and public prosecutor’s office have told Al Jazeera that an 11-minute audio recording reveals Khashoggi was beaten up as he entered the Saudi consulate.
The recording purportedly features voices in the A and B blocks of the consulate building, which are part of the building’s entrance.
The information comes a day after Turkish authorities searched the Saudi consulate and the residence of the consul general.
Fingerprints found during the search include those of Salah Muhammad al-Tubaigy, an autopsy expert from Naif Arab University for Security Sciences.
He is among the 15 men suspected of forming a Saudi hit squad to kill Khashoggi. His fingerprints were found around an electrical socket in the consulate.
None of the men entered Turkey on fake passports, according to sources in the public prosecutor’s office, who say some are thought to have used diplomatic passports.
Sources have also told Al Jazeera that an individual close to Khashoggi is believed to have been relaying information back to Saudi Arabia about the journalist’s actions and whereabouts since he left the kingdom.
The Dutch government cancelled a trade mission to Saudi Arabia next month due to concerns over the disappearance of Khashoggi, a spokeswoman said.
“All trade missions to the country have been suspended for now,” a spokeswoman for PSPS Consultants, which had organised the trip for the government told Reuters.
The decision came minutes after Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra said he was scrapping plans to attend the Future Investment Initiatives conference in Riyadh next week.
Also on Thursday, the CEO of French defence electronics group Thales announced that he would no longer be attending the conference, however the company will still be represented by Jean-Loic Galle, an executive in Thales’ space division.
Turkish sources have told Al Jazeera that “important samples” were found during searches of two Saudi diplomatic buildings in Istanbul on Wednesday.
Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford, reporting from Istanbul, said particular attention had been paid to an area of the consulate called the “C-block”.
“It was only open to diplomatic staff. Sources in the last couple of hours have said that they have very strong evidence that Khashoggi was killed inside the C-block of the consulate.
Sources told Al Jazeera that they found fingerprints inside C-block of six of the 15 men accused of forming part of a hit-squad.
Investigators spent more than 12 hours scouring the consulate and consul general’s residence for clues about Khashoggi’s fate.
French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire has become the latest high-profile figure to drop out of an economic conference in Saudi Arabia over the alleged murder of Khashoggi.
“I won’t go to Riyadh next week,” he told France’s Public Senate TV channel on Thursday, saying the journalist’s disappearance was “very serious”.
Companies such as Uber, JP Morgan Chase and HSBC have also dropped out, along with media giants CNN, The Financial Times and The New York Times.
Turkish investigators who searched the Saudi consul-general’s residence in Istanbul recovered “samples” after examining the premises for more than nine hours, according to sources at the prosecutor’s office.
“Whether these were samples of DNA or blood samples is unclear. Apparently, according to sources, these were quite convincing in terms of evidence,” said Al Jazeera’s Andrew Simmons, reporting from outside the building.
The forensics team scoured the residence, garage and garden as well, Simmons said. Turkish investigators were seen leaving the building carrying boxes and bags.
Sources say there is video evidence that a car drove from the Saudi consulate to the consul general’s residence on the day Khashoggi disappeared.
Saudi Consul General Mohammed al-Otaibi and his family unexpectedly left Turkey on Tuesday.
Turkish investigators also re-examined the Saudi consulate after searching it for nine hours on Monday as part of the Khashoggi investigation.
Turkey’s interior minister said the investigation’s results will be “shared with the world”, which could happen this week.
A pro-government Turkish newspaper published a gruesome recount of Khashoggi’s alleged killing at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Yeni Safak reported Khashoggi was killed within minutes of entering the consulate and his torturers severed his fingers during an interrogation. His killers later beheaded and dismembered him, it said, citing an alleged audio recording of the attack.
The newspaper said Saudi Consul General Mohammed al-Otaibi could be heard on the tape telling those allegedly torturing Khashoggi: “Do this outside; you’re going to get me in trouble.”
The newspaper said one of the men torturing Khashoggi replied: “Shut up if you want to live when you return to [Saudi] Arabia.”
A New York Times report cited a senior Turkish official confirming the details published by Yeni Safak.
Turkey has not shared with the US government or European allies graphic audio or video evidence, seven US and European security officials told Reuters news agency.
The US and allies have collected some intelligence through their own sources and methods, which partly confirms news reports based on leaks of audio recordings, four of the sources said.
US President Trump denied covering up for ally Saudi Arabia in Khashoggi’s suspected murder.
Trump’s comments followed the publication in pro-government Turkish media of allegations purporting to confirm Khashoggi was not only murdered by Saudi agents in their consulate in Istanbul, but tortured and dismembered.
“No not at all, I just want to find out what’s happening,” Trump told reporters in the White House when asked if his cautious approach to the scandal amounts to a cover-up.
“I’m not giving cover at all.”
The president said he would get a “full report” from Pompeo on the diplomat’s return from meetings with Saudi and Turkish leaders, allowing him to assess what really happened.
“We will probably know that by the end of the week,” Trump said.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says he will decide on Thursday whether he will attend an investment conference in Riyadh that has been boycotted by global business leaders concerned about Khashoggi’s fate.
Mnuchin said he will “revisit the decision again” after reviewing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s report on the case on Thursday.
The Washington Post published a new column by Khashoggi, in which he discussed the importance of a free press in the Middle East.
Governments in the region “have been given free rein to continue silencing the media at an increasing rate”, he wrote.
Khashoggi condemned what he called silence from the international community over attacks on press freedom, saying imprisonment of journalists and seizing control of newspapers “no longer carry the consequence of a backlash from the international community”.
“Instead, these actions may trigger condemnation followed by silence,” he wrote.
Post Global Opinions editor Karen Attiah said she received the column from Khashoggi’s assistant a day after he was reported missing.
The newspaper also plans to publish a page dedicated to Khashoggi in its opinions section on Thursday.
Eleven Democratic senators have sent a letter to Trump and to the Trump Organization seeking a full accounting of any financial ties between the Trump Organization and Saudi Arabia.
“It is imperative that this sanctions determination, and US policy towards Saudi Arabia generally, are not influenced by any conflicts of interest that may exist because of your or your family’s deep financial ties to Saudi Arabia,” the senators wrote to Trump.
The lawmakers also voiced support for their colleagues in the Senate, who have already triggered an investigation into Khashoggi’s disappearance under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act.
Turkey has not shared with the US government or key European allies graphic audio or video evidence it allegedly collected on Khashoggi’s visit to Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul, seven US and European security officials told Reuters.
Turkish forensic experts who searched the residence of Saudi Arabia’s Consul General in Istanbul have found “samples identical to those uncovered” at the kingdom’s consulate in the city, according to Al Jazeera’s Jamal Elshayyal.
Sources at the Attorney General’s Office “say these samples provide further evidence of the conclusion that Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate building”, our correspondent said, reporting from Istanbul.
Turkey has now asked the US to share Khashoggi’s blood and DNA samples with them, he added.
President Trump said the US has asked Turkey for any audio or video evidence it may have related to the disappearance of Khashoggi but was not sure whether any such evidence exists.
“We have asked for it, if it exists … I’m not sure yet that it exists, probably does, possibly does,” he said.
Trump, speaking to reporters at the White House, denied he was trying to give cover to Saudi leaders, a day after he cautioned against assuming Saudi leaders were guilty in the case until proven innocent.
“I just want to find out what’s happening,” he said. “I’m not giving cover at all.”
Trump says he does not want to walk away from Saudi Arabia despite ongoing concerns about Khashoggi’s disappearance, arguing the US relies on the kingdom in the fight against “terrorism”.
In an interview with Fox Business Network, Trump said “I do not want to do that” when asked if the US would walk away from its Gulf ally.
He added that the kingdom has “a tremendous order, $110bn”, referring to the promised US arms sales to Saudi Arabia.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the US takes Khashoggi’s disappearance “seriously” and needs to know the facts behind the case before it can formulate an appropriate response.
Pompeo made the comments to journalists after leaving Turkey during a quick visit that included a talk with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Pompeo said Erdogan “made clear that the Saudis had cooperated with the investigation that the Turks are engaged in and they are going to share information”.
A team of Turkish investigators entered the Saudi consul’s Istanbul residence as part of the investigation into the disappearance of Khashoggi.
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said earlier that Turkish officials hoped to enter the consulate on Wednesday. Turkish police entered the Saudi consulate on Monday for the first time since Khashoggi’s disappearance two weeks ago, searching the premises for nine hours.
An 11-member Saudi investigation team arrived at the Saudi consul’s Istanbul residence on Wednesday, according to CNN Turk, ahead of an expected search by Turkish police in relation to Khashoggi’s disappearance and alleged murder.
Turkish FM Cavusoglu previously had said Turkey hopes to enter the residence on Wednesday.
Turkish police were expected to search the residence on Tuesday but officers at the scene said it was called off for the day because Saudi officials were unable to join.
Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said he would delay a decision on whether to go through with a planned visit to Saudi Arabia until Riyadh had given more clarity on Khashoggi’s disappearance.
Maas said the trip, which had been intended as part of a push to repair strained relations with the desert kingdom, made no sense in the context of concerns over the fate of Khashoggi, whom Turkish authorities believe was murdered.
“We had planned a visit in the context of the dialogue with Saudi Arabia. We will wait on that now,” Maas said at a Berlin news conference.
“The Saudi side plans a statement [on the affair], and we will use that as a basis for deciding whether a trip makes sense at the current time.”
Federic Oudea, the chief executive of French bank Societe Generale has cancelled his attendance at the ‘Davos in the Desert’ investment conference to be held later this month, a spokesman for the bank confirmed.
Oudea’s cancellation comes a day after BNP Paribas Chairman Jean Lemierre had also cancelled his attendance at this month’s conference in Riyadh.
Numerous business executives and journalists have pulled out of the conference amid widespread concern about Khashoggi.
Pompeo met with both Turkish FM Mevlut Cavusoglu and President Erdogan in separate meetings that each lasted roughly 40 minutes.
Cavusoglu said dialogue with Pompeo was “beneficial and fruitful”, according to reports from Turkey.
Khashoggi’s disappearance, along with issues in Syria and US-Turkish relations, were discussed in the meetings, the FM said.
Cavusoglu also said a search at the Saudi consul general residence did not happen Tuesday but the team hopes to enter today.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has landed in Turkey to discuss Khashoggi’s disappearance and possible killing.
Pompeo was previously in Saudi Arabia for meetings with MBS, he said the kingdom made a “serious commitment” to hold senior leaders and officials accountable in the case of Khashoggi, if any wrongdoing is discovered.
As the meeting began, Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said Turkish authorities are waiting for a joint agreement to search the Saudi consulate in Istanbul where Khashoggi’s murder is alleged to have taken place.
In his strongest statement yet backing Saudi Arabia, US President Trump criticised rapidly mounting global condemnation of Riyadh over the mystery of the missing journalist.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Trump compared the case of Khashoggi to the allegations of sexual assault levelled against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation.
Trump’s remarks were his most robust defence yet of the Saudis, a US ally central to his Middle East agenda. The comments put the president at odds with other key allies and with some leaders in his Republican Party who condemned the Saudi leadership for what they say is an obvious role in the Khashoggi case.
Trump appeared willing to resist pressure to follow suit, accepting Saudi denials and their pledge to investigate.
Since Khashoggi’s disappearance, there has been mounting criticism of some of MBS’s moves.
These include Riyadh’s involvement in the war in Yemen, the arrest of women activists, and a diplomatic dispute with Canada. The kingdom also denied an assertion by France that it held Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri captive in November 2017.
Four suspects identified by Turkey in Khashoggi’s disappearance are tied to MBS, The New York Times reports.
One is a frequent companion of the powerful crown prince and the three others are linked to his security detail, the report said.
Turkish government sources have said police believe the journalist was killed by a special team of 15 Saudi operatives sent to Istanbul especially for the assassination. Riyadh insists Khashoggi left the consulate safely.
The Times said it confirmed at least nine of the 15 worked for the Saudi security services, military or other government ministries.
The newspaper said it gathered more information about the suspects through facial recognition software, a database of Saudi mobile phone numbers, leaked Saudi government documents, witnesses and media.
One suspect, Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, was a diplomat assigned to the Saudi embassy in London in 2007, it said, citing a British diplomatic roster.
Mutreb has been photographed travelling with MBS on recent trips to Madrid, Paris, and the US the newspaper reported.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says Saudi Arabia has made a “serious commitment” to hold senior leaders and officials accountable in the case of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi, if any wrongdoing is discovered.
Pompeo was in Saudi Arabia for meetings with MBS. He offered his assessment after talks with the Saudi leadership, and said the crown prince again denied any knowledge of what happened to Khashoggi.
Pompeo’s statement said the Saudis acknowledged something had happened to the missing journalist, but were not specific.
The crown prince “conveyed that a serious and credible investigation is already under way. He pledged that the work of the Saudi public prosecutor will produce a full and complete conclusion with full transparency for the world to see”, it said.
“They made no exceptions to who they would hold accountable. They were very clear. They understand the importance of this issue they are determined to get to the bottom of it. They each promised they would achieve that for us,” said Pompeo.
He visits Turkey before arriving late on Wednesday back in the US to deliver his report to President Trump.
Foreign ministers from the Group of Seven called for a “transparent” probe into Khashoggi’s disappearance.
“We remain very troubled by the disappearance of prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Those bearing responsibility for his disappearance must be held to account,” said a statement by Canada, which currently holds the presidency of the group of industrial democracies.
“We encourage Turkish-Saudi collaboration and look forward to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia conducting a thorough, credible, transparent and prompt investigation, as announced.”
International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde has deferred a planned trip to the Middle East, which included a stop in Riyadh to attend an investment conference.
On Saturday, Lagarde told a news conference in Indonesia she did not intend to change her travel plans but was “horrified” by media reports about the disappearance of the Saudi journalist.
“The Managing Director’s previously scheduled trip to the Middle East region is being deferred,” an IMF spokesperson said in a statement, without giving a reason for the decision.
Iraq’s populist cleric Muqtada al-Sadr accused President Trump of feigning concern over Khashoggi’s disappearance while ignoring other forms of injustice.
Sadr called Trump a “Pharaoh” and “tyrant” who speaks out about injustice when it suits him.
The message, published by his office on Tuesday, appeared critical of Saudi Arabia as well at a time when Iraq’s politicians are finding themselves courted by the Gulf state and its rival, Iran.
Saudi Arabia is paying influential lobbyists, lawyers, and public relations experts nearly $6m a year to engage US officials and promote the Gulf kingdom, even after three Washington firms cut ties after the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The figure comes from records filed with the Justice Department that provide details of agreements with the Saudi embassy and other arms of its government.
The Saudis are spending heavily in Washington as a bitter political dispute simmers in the Middle East that pits the kingdom and three other Arab nations against Qatar over claims it funds “terrorism” and is close to regional rival Iran – accusations Doha vehemently denies.
More business defections are possible as pressure mounts on Saudi Arabia to explain what happened to Khashoggi.
US President Trump says he spoke with MBS and the crown prince “totally denied” any knowledge of what happened to Khashoggi.
In a tweet, Trump said the crown prince told him the Saudis would rapidly expand an investigation into the matter. Answers will be coming “shortly”, the president said.
…during the call, and told me that he has already started, and will rapidly expand, a full and complete investigation into this matter. Answers will be forthcoming shortly.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 16, 2018
Trump told Fox Business Network it “would be bad” if King Salman or bin Salman knew about any operation against Khashoggi.
“It depends whether or not the king or the crown prince knew about it, in my opinion, number one, what happened, but whether or not they knew about it. If they knew about it that would be bad,” Trump said according to an excerpt from the interview.
Turkish investigators will not search the residence of the Saudi consul in Istanbul on Tuesday. Police said the search was called off because Saudi officials were not able to join.
Saudi Arabia’s Consul-General in Istanbul Mohammad al-Otaibi left Turkey for Riyadh, Anadolu news agency reported citing diplomatic sources.
His departure comes as Turkish and Saudi officials are preparing to search al-Otaibi’s residence, Turkish foreign ministry officials said.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and MBS at their meeting “agreed on the importance of a thorough, transparent, and timely investigation that provides answers” to Khashoggi’s disappearance, according to a US statement.
“The secretary reiterated the president’s concern with respect to Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance, as well as the president’s desire to determine what happened,” US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said of the meeting that took place in Saudi Arabia.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who is on the US Armed Services Committee, told Fox News he is certain MBS knew about an alleged Saudi operation to kill Khashoggi.
“I know this, nothing happens in Saudi Arabia without MBS knowing it… I think he’s on a bad track. I can never do business with Saudi Arabia again until we get this behind us…That means I’m not going back to Saudi Arabia as long as this guy’s in charge.”
On @foxandfriends, @LindseyGrahamSC describes Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as "a wrecking ball. He had [Khashoggi] murdered…the MBS figure is toxic. He can never be a world leader…This guy's got to go. Saudi Arabia if you're listening, MBS has tainted your country." pic.twitter.com/dGRDRVsztc
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 16, 2018
Asked if he feels if bin Salman should step aside, Graham said: “It’s up to them, but I’m not going, I’ve been their biggest defender on the floor of the US Senate.
“This guy is a wrecking ball, he had this guy murdered in a consulate in Turkey, and to expect me to ignore it. I feel used and abused. I was on the floor every time defending Saudi Arabia because there’s a good ally.
“There’s a difference between a country and an individual. The MBS figure is, to me, toxic, he can never be a world leader on the world stage.”
Graham said he feels the US should impose sanctions on Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi’s disappearance.
“It’s up to the president, but what I would do, I know what I’m going to do, I’m going to sanction the hell out of Saudi Arabia.
“We deal with bad people all the time but this is in our face. I feel personally offended, they have nothing but contempt for us. Why would you put a guy like me and the president in this box, after all the president has done?
“This guy has got to go. Saudi Arabia, if you are listening, there are a lot of good people you can choose, but MBS has tainted your country and tainted himself.”
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said officials investigating the Khashoggi case may ask for testimony from staff at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul if deemed necessary but that no restrictions on travel had been placed on the kingdom’s diplomats in Turkey.
Cavusoglu told reporters at a press conference in the Turkish capital, Ankara, that US counterpart Mike Pompeo would share any information gathered regarding Khashoggi’s disappearance during his ongoing visit to Saudi Arabia with Turkish officials.
Khashoggi was last seen entering Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul on October 2.
The leaders of HSBC, Credit Suisse and Standard Chartered have pulled out of Saudi Arabia’s Future Investment Initiative, scheduled to begin in Riyadh on October 23.
Chief executives John Flint, Tidjane Thiam and Bill Winters are the latest high-profile business figures to boycott the event in the wake of Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance.
On Monday, Google announced that Google Cloud Chief Executive Diane Greene would not be attending the business conference.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo thanked Saudi monarch King Salman for his commitment to a “thorough and transparent” investigation into the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi.
During face-to-face talks in Saudi Arabia’s capital, Riyadh, Pompeo reportedly reiterated the US’ concern over the fate of the Saudi writer and critic, who was last seen entering Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul on October 2.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan raised the possibility that parts of the consulate had been repainted since Khashoggi disappeared.
“The investigation is looking into many things such as toxic materials and those materials being removed by painting them over,” he told reporters.
A Turkish security official said no conclusive evidence emerged from the overnight search that indicated Khashoggi was killed in the consulate.
“However, there are some findings and they are being worked on,” he said, adding that painting may have damaged some evidence. “These can’t be fully erased after all, so the teams will continue to work on this.”
Erdogan also said he hoped a reasonable opinion would be reached as soon as possible, Reuters news agency reported.
An official from the Turkish Foreign Ministry said the home of Saudi Arabia’s consul in Istanbul will be searched as part of ongoing investigations into the Khashoggi case, AP news agency reported.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet called on Saudi Arabia and Turkey on Tuesday to reveal all information they had on the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi.
“Two weeks is a very long time for the probable scene of a crime not to have been subjected to a full forensic investigation,” Bachelet said in a statement.
“Under international law, both a forced disappearance and an extra-judicial killing are very serious crimes, and immunity should not be used to impede investigations into what happened and who is responsible,” she added.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has landed in Saudi Arabia’s capital, Riyadh, for talks with King Salman over the Khashoggi case.
Pompeo will also meet with MBS later on Tuesday, AFP news agency reported, quoting an unnamed US official.
Pompeo’s arrival in Riyadh followed a 20-minute phone call between King Salman and US President Trump on Monday.
A team of Turkish police investigating Khashoggi’s disappearance has left the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Turkish police investigators entered the premises late on Monday.
A Turkish diplomatic source had earlier said a joint Turkish-Saudi team would search the consulate – the last place Khashoggi was seen before he vanished on October 2.
The results of the investigation will be released in two to three days, the prosecutor’s office said.
Alphabet Inc’s Google announced on Monday that Google Cloud Chief Executive Diane Greene would not attend a business conference in Saudi Arabia scheduled to take place later this month.
The announcement came after several other business leaders – including representatives from Uber, Virgin, JP Morgan, Mastercard, The World Bank and Ford – also said they would boycott the conference, officially known as the Future Investment Initiative, which is scheduled to start on October 23.
The New York Times reports the Saudi royal court will soon put out a narrative that an official within the kingdom’s intelligence services – who happens to be a friend of Prince Mohammed – carried out Khashoggi’s killing.
According to that narrative, the crown prince approved an interrogation or rendition of Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia, but the intelligence official was tragically incompetent as he eagerly sought to prove himself. He then tried to cover up the botched handling of the situation.
CNN earlier reported a similar story. Both reports cited anonymous people said to be familiar with the Saudi plans.
Trump said he could not confirm such reports. “I’ve heard that report but nobody’s knows if it’s an official report. So far it’s just the rumour, the rumour of a report coming out,” he said.
The Times reported the theory was widely dismissed among Khashoggi’s friends , human rights defenders, and some US politicians.
Been hearing the ridiculous “rogue killers” theory was where the Saudis would go with this. Absolutely extaordinary they were able to enlist the President of the United States as their PR agent to float it. https://t.co/ChRFyleneR
— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) October 15, 2018
Azzam Tamimi, a Khashoggi friend, called the “rogue” theory “disastrous” for the credibility of Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“The Turks have leaked so much that it is inconceivable that they would settle for less than telling the world exactly what happened,” said Tamimi.
David Hearst, editor of the Middle East Eye, said the “interrogation-gone wrong” story “really doesn’t hold water”, considering the 15-member assassination team that has been identified consisted of special forces – not interrogators.
“This is not the team you send to interrogate or even kidnap someone,” Hearst told Al Jazeera.
“What is happening is the Saudi story is crumbling, and crumbling very quickly. And now there’s an attempt to build a firewall around [Crown Prince] Mohammed bin Salman and the king.”
President Trump suggested “rogue killers” could be responsible for Khashoggi’s mysterious disappearance, an explanation offering US ally Saudi Arabia a possible path out of a global diplomatic firestorm.
The Saudis continued to deny they killed the writer, but there were indications the story could soon change.
Trump spoke after a personal 20-minute phone call with Saudi King Salman and as the president dispatched his secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, to Riyadh for a face-to-face discussion with the king on Tuesday.
Trump quoted the king as saying neither he nor his son, MBS, had any information about what had happened to Khashoggi.
“The king [Salman] firmly denied any knowledge of it,” Trump told reporters of Khashoggi’s disappearance.
“It sounded to me like maybe these could have been rogue killers. I mean, who knows? We’re going to try getting to the bottom of it very soon, but his was a flat denial.”
A statement released by Khashoggi’s relatives is urging an internationally recognised investigation into his whereabouts.
“As we await definitive answers and facts from multiple ongoing investigations, we believe it is imperative to launch an independent, impartial, and internationally recognised investigation in order to provide us – and the many who loved him – with much needed clarity and resolution,” it said.
Turkish authorities say prosecutors have found evidence that supports suspicions Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
A source at the attorney-general’s office, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told Al Jazeera “they have found evidence that supports their suspicions that Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi consulate”, correspondent Jamal Elshayyal reported from Istanbul.
“This is a significant step forward after several days of an impasse,” he said.
The attorney-general’s office also said their team inside the consulate found evidence of “tampering”, Elshayyal added.
The results of the investigation would be released in two to three days, the prosecutors office said.
Meanwhile, CNN is reporting that Saudi Arabia is preparing to admit that Khashoggi was killed as the result of an interrogation that went wrong, citing two unnamed sources.
One source cautioned that a report was still being prepared and could change, CNN said. The other source said the report would likely conclude the operation was carried out without clearance and those involved will be held responsible, the American news outlet said.
The US National Security Council released a statement demanding a thorough investigation into the disappearance of Khashoggi.
“It is absolutely essential that Turkish authorities, with full and transparent support from the government of Saudi Arabia, are able to conduct a thorough investigation and officially release the results of that investigation when concluded.
“We support Turkish investigators’ efforts and are not going to prejudge the outcome of the official investigation. We stand ready to assist.”
Turkish police investigators entered Saudi Arabia’s Istanbul consulate, nearly two weeks after the disappearance of Khashoggi.
A Turkish diplomatic source had earlier said that a joint Turkish-Saudi team would conduct a search of the consulate.
Trump said on Twitter that he has spoken with King Salman, who “denies any knowledge of whatever may have happened” to Jamal Khashoggi. He also said he would send his secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, to meet with the Saudi king “immediately”.
Pompeo, hurriedly sent to Riyadh, is expected to get more clarity during talks with Saudi leaders on Tuesday. The White House expects credible answers quickly after Pompeo wraps up his trip with a stop in Ankara for meetings with senior Turkish officials.
Just spoke to the King of Saudi Arabia who denies any knowledge of whatever may have happened “to our Saudi Arabian citizen.” He said that they are working closely with Turkey to find answer. I am immediately sending our Secretary of State to meet with King!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 15, 2018
Turkish investigators will search the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Monday afternoon, the Turkish Foreign Ministry has said according to AP news agency.
For the last week, authorities have sought to enter the Saudi consulate, the place where Khashoggi was last seen before his disappearance according to CCTV footage.
After entering the consulate two weeks ago, Khashoggi disappeared, leading Turkey to claim the journalist was murdered by Saudi officials.
Saudi Arabia has denied all allegations.
The disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi is hitting the Saudi economy, with stocks plunging almost 7 percent in early trading on Sunday, wiping out all the gains it had made since the start of the year.
The fall came after US President Trump threatened “severe punishment” if Saudi Arabia was found to be responsible for Khashoggi’s disappearance, but Riyadh warned it would retaliate if economic sanctions are imposed on it.
What was dubbed “Davos in the desert” is supposed to promote MBS’s reform vision for the Kingdom.
So, where does that leave all his plans?
Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa has voiced his support for a boycott of ride-hailing app Uber over the Khashoggi case.
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has said he would not attend a business conference in the kingdom’s ally Saudi Arabia because of its alleged involvement in the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi.
On Twitter, Al Khalifa called for a boycott of Uber in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, following similar responses to Uber’s withdrawal in Saudi Arabia.
Similarly, a prominent Emirati businessman called for the boycott of Virgin after its CEO Richard Branson cancelled on the Saudi economic conference.
“Now it is time for GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) to prove their loyalty by boycotting Virgin and Uber and all the companies pulling out of KSA… Together we can prove our unity and that we cannot be bullied,” Khalaf Ahmad Al-Habtoor said on Twitter.
Economic concerns grow for Saudi, global economy
The sell-off on Riyadh’s Tadawul stock exchange shows investors are uneasy, analysts say.
The exchange dropped by more than 500 points, then clawed back some of the losses, ending Sunday down 264 points, or more than four percent. Of 188 stocks traded on the exchange, 179 ended the day with a loss.
“Something this big would definitely spook investors, and Saudi just opened up for foreign direct investment, so that was big,” said Issam Kassabieh, a financial analyst at Dubai-based firm Menacorp Finance.
“Investors do not feel solid in Saudi yet, so it’s easy for them to take back their funds.”
Neem Aslam, chief market analyst at ThinkMarkets, said the unstable political situation would likely continue to frighten investors away.
“This will become a major concern. If entrepreneurs at these levels decide to cut ties or pullback from investments in Saudi Arabia, the stock market is going to have a huge reaction… Uncertainty for FDI [foreign direct investment] is the worst thing that can happen to any country,” he told Al Jazeera.
A column by the general manager of the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya satellite news network suggested Saudi Arabia could use its oil production as a weapon if the US were to impose sanctions over Khashoggi’s disappearance.
Benchmark Brent crude is trading at about $80 a barrel, and US President Trump has criticised OPEC and Saudi Arabia over rising prices.
“If the price of oil reaching $80 angered President Trump, no one should rule out the price jumping to $100, or $200, or even double that figure,” Turki Aldakhil wrote.
It’s unclear, however, whether Saudi Arabia would be willing to unilaterally cut production.
“The truth is that if Washington imposes sanctions on Riyadh, it will stab its own economy to death, even though it thinks that it is stabbing only Riyadh,” said Aldakhil.
A Saudi dissident in Canada believes the kingdom hacked his phone and listened to calls he had with Jamal Khashoggi prior to the journalist’s disappearance.
“For sure, they listened to the conversation between me and Jamal and other activists, in Canada, in the [United] States, in Turkey, in Saudi Arabia,” Omar Abdulaziz said in an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
A report published recently by the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab concluded that Saudi authorities were “very likely” responsible for hacking his phone with powerful spyware sold only to governments.
Abdulaziz said he was working on several projects with Khashoggi in recent months, including a campaign to counter Riyadh’s pro-government propaganda on social media.
Khashoggi “promised me to sponsor the project and I guess they could listen in to those conversations”, he said. “His voice was a headache for the Saudi government.”
JP Morgan Chase Chief Executive Jamie Dimon and Ford Motor Company Chairman Bill Ford cancelled plans to attend a Saudi investor conference, the latest such high-profile announcements after Khashoggi’s disappearance.
The cancellations could add pressure on other American firms such as Goldman Sachs Group, Mastercard, and Bank of America to reconsider their plans to attend the high-profile event known as “Davos in the Desert”.
Neither JP Morgan nor Ford would elaborate on the reasons for the decision not to attend the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh later this month and did not comment on whether concerns about Khashoggi were a factor.
Business barons – including British billionaire Richard Branson and Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, as well as media powerhouses like Bloomberg and CNN – have all pulled out.
The absence of media and technology executives is likely to cast a shadow over the three-day event, which has become the biggest show for investors to promote MBS’s reform vision.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and King Salman of Saudi Arabia spoke by telephone and discussed the investigation into the disappearance of Khashoggi, according to Turkish presidential sources.
They said the leaders stressed the importance of their two countries creating a joint working group as part of the investigation. The king thanked Erdogan for welcoming the Saudi proposal for the joint group and said no one could undermine their relationship.
Egypt said it was following with concern the case of Khashoggi’s disappearance and called for a transparent investigation into the matter.
“Egypt stresses the importance of revealing the truth of what happened in a transparent investigation,” its foreign ministry said in a statement.
Cairo warned against those who sought to exploit the incident politically against Saudi Arabia and stressed its support for Riyadh’s efforts to deal with the situation.
The UK’s Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt said Britain would have to think about the appropriate response if it were proven that Saudi Arabia was behind the disappearance of Khashoggi.
“I don’t want to get drawn into hypotheticals because we don’t know the facts yet, but we have been very, very clear that if these stories are true, that would be totally appalling and we would have to think about the appropriate way to react in that situation,” Hunt told British television.
Saudi Arabia thanked countries, including the US, for “refraining from jumping to conclusions” over the fate of the missing journalist.
The Saudi embassy in Washington issued a tweet to clarify an earlier statement in which Saudi Arabia said it would retaliate to international pressure or sanctions with greater measures.
To help clarify recently issued Saudi statement, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia extends it appreciation to all, including the US administration, for refraining from jumping to conclusions on the ongoing investigation. https://t.co/AhcsVkn7Cy
— Saudi Embassy (@SaudiEmbassyUSA) October 14, 2018
The United Kingdom, France and Germany have called on Saudi Arabia and Turkey to mount a “credible investigation” into the disappearance of Khashoggi, adding they were treating the case with “utmost seriousness”.
“There needs to be a credible investigation to establish the truth about what happened, and – if relevant – to identify those bearing responsibility for the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, and ensure that they are held to account,” foreign ministers from the three countries said in a joint statement.
“We encourage joint Saudi-Turkish efforts in that regard, and expect the Saudi Government to provide a complete and detailed response. We have conveyed this message directly to the Saudi authorities.”
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is still planning to attend the three-day Future Investment Initiative scheduled to take place on October 23, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on ABC’s “This Week.”
“Mr Mnuchin will make up his mind as the week progresses and as new information surfaces,” Kudlow said.
His comments came shortly after Florida Senator Marco Rubio told CNN’s State of the Union he believes Mnuchin should boycott the event.
Republican Senator Marco Rubio said the US had to react in response to Khashoggi’s disappearance or face losing its reputation on human rights.
“If we do not take action, including potentially arms sales, as a result of this, if it turns out to be what they say it is, then we are not going to be able to with a straight face or any credibility confront Putin or Assad or Maduro in Venezuela or frankly confront the Chinese and their human rights violations,” Rubio said on Sunday in an interview with CBS’s Face the Nation.
Riyadh dismissed threats of sanctions over the disappearance of Khashoggi and vowed Saudi Arabia would retaliate against such action.
“The kingdom affirms its total rejection of any threats or attempts to undermine it whether through threats to impose economic sanctions or the use of political pressure,” an official source said, quoted by state news agency SPA.
“The kingdom also affirms that it will respond to any action with a bigger one,” the source said.
Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All-Shares Index (TASI) lost more than 500 points on the first trading day of the week on Sunday, wiping out all the gains it had made since the start of the year.
TASI is the largest Arab bourse and has shed almost $50bn of its capital value, dropping to $450bn.
Hatice Cengiz, Khashoggi’s fiancee, has called for accountability if reports of his murder are true.
In an op-ed written for The New York Times, Cengiz said if allegations are proven true, the loss of Khashoggi impacts “every person with a conscience and moral compass.
“If we have already lost Jamal, then condemnation is not enough. The people who took him from us, irrespective of their political positions, must be held accountable and punished to the full extent of the law,” she wrote.
Cengiz, who was invited to the White House by Trump, said she would “consider accepting” such an invitation if the US president helped reveal the truth of what happened to Khashoggi.
US Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin, and the UK’s International Trade Secretary, Liam Fox, may not attend the “Davos in the Desert”, a major investment conference in Riyadh, over concerns that Saudi Arabia is responsible for Khashoggi’s reported death.
The officials’ possible boycott was confirmed to the BBC by “diplomatic sources”.
If Mnuchin and Fox decide to boycott the Future Investment Initiative conference, they will join investors such as Richard Branson and journalists from The Economist, CNBC and The New York Times, who pulled out of the conference in Riyadh on Friday amid growing concerns over Khashoggi’s disappearance.
Trump says he will probably call Saudi King Salman tonight or tomorrow about Khashoggi, adding that the case is “not looking too good”.
Trump also said the US would be “punishing itself” if it halts military sales to Saudi Arabia, even if it is proven that Khashoggi was killed inside the country’s consulate in Istanbul.
Turkey’s top diplomat has reiterated a call to Saudi Arabia to allow Turkish authorities to enter the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul.
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Saudi Arabia had not yet cooperated with Turkey on the search for Khashoggi. He said that Turkish “prosecutors and technical friends must enter” the consulate “and Saudi Arabia must cooperate with us on this”.
US President Trump said in a CBS interview that there would be “severe punishment” for Saudi Arabia if it turns out that Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Trump said in an interview for 60 Minutes that there was much at stake with Khashoggi case, “maybe especially so” because he was a journalist.
Daoud Kuttab, a board member at the International Press Institute, an organisation promoting press freedom globally, said US President Trump’s tirades against journalists and claims of “fake news” encourage leaders elsewhere to clamp down on press freedom.
“The rhetoric coming out of the White House, coming out of the president, attacks daily on news as being fake news gives the permission to autocratic leaders to take out their own opposition and independent journalists,” he told Al Jazeera.
“Leaders around the world, and especially autocratic leaders, watch the White House and the president carefully. When the president of the US says that journalists are the enemies of the people, that’s music to their ears and the feel like they can get a green light or a yellow light from America to do what they want [to] their own journalists,” he said.
The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed fears that enforced disappearances are set to become the “new normal”.
Speaking to the BBC at the International Monetary Fund meeting in Bali, Guterres said governments must respond appropriately once a “clear answer” on what happened to Khashoggi emerges.
“I must say I am feeling worried [at] this apparent new normal,” he said.
Several members of the British Houses of Parliament have written a letter to Foreign Affairs Minister Jeremy Hunt, calling for a “thorough investigation” into the Khashoggi case.
“Clearly this is a very concerning case, with serious implications for the future of Saudi Arabia and her relations with liberal democracies worldwide,” a letter written by Mark Menzies, chair of the all-party parliamentarian group on Saudi Arabia wrote in a letter.
“The UK must call for a full and thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of Mr Khashoggi, and stand ready to support all authorities in their inquiries,” Menzies continued.
The letter was signed by 13 MPs.
US President Trump has said he will address Khashoggi’s disappearance in a phone call with Saudi’s King Salman, after confirming he had not talked to any of the country’s officials yet regarding the case.
“I will be calling, at some point, King Salman, I’ll be speaking to him pretty soon,” Trump said.
“We’re gonna find out what happened with respect to the terrible situation in Turkey having to do with Saudi Arabia and the reporter,” he told reporters in Cincinnati, Ohio, on Friday.
While avoiding questions of what the conversation would be like, Trump did say that the Saudis and others are looking “very hard and very fast” into what happened to Khashoggi.
“It is potentially a really, really terrible situation,” he said.
According to Turkish authorities, Jamal Khashoggi’s smartwatch could potentially play an important factor in solving the disappearance and alleged murder of the Saudi journalist.
The authorities have said Khashoggi’s smartwatch recorded audio of his meeting inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, which was then sent to a phone he gave his fiancee ahead of his meeting.
Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah reported on Saturday that Khashoggi’s alleged interrogation, torture and murder were recorded in the watch’s memory.
Sabah, which cited “reliable sources in a special intelligence department” for its report, said Khashoggi was believed to have turned on the recording feature on the phone before entering the consulate.
Some technology analysts have expressed doubt at the veracity of the report, Alp Toker, from digital rights group Netblocks.org told Al Jazeera on Saturday that it was not clear if Khashoggi’s watch had syncing capabilities or if the other devices were within range at the time.
“It’s not out of the realm of possibility, but looking at the facts of the situation, it is quite difficult to see the conditions when this could have happened,” he said.
Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said she will attend a high profile economic conference in the Saudi capital Riyadh, despite criticising the Saudi government for their alleged involvement in the disappearance of Khashoggi.
“Human rights and freedom of information are essential rights,” Lagarde said. “Horrifying things have been reported, and I am horrified but I have to conduct the business of the IMF in all corners of the world.”
“When I visit a country I always speak my mind, so at this point in time I will not change my plan.”
On Friday, several key attendees of the investment conference, including the heads of Uber, CNN and FT, who said they will not be part of the event.
Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Interior Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Naif bin Abdulaziz has denied allegations regarding the disappearance and alleged murder of Khashoggi.
He said that allegations about orders to murder Khashoggi were “lies” targeting the government, according to the official Saudi Press Agency.
A spokesperson for the Future Investment Initiative set to take place in the Saudi capital Riyadh on October 23 said the event will move ahead as planned.
“While it is disappointing that some speakers and partners have pulled out, we are looking forward to welcoming thousands of speakers, moderators and guests from all over the world to Riyadh from Oct. 23-25,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
Several US media organisations and business leaders have withdrawn from the conference over the disappearance and suspected murder of Khashoggi.
French President Emmanuel Macron said he was “extremely worried” about the Saudi journalist’s disappearance.
“I am waiting for the truth and complete clarity to be established,” Macron said in an interview with France 24. “What’s being mentioned is serious, very serious […] France wants everything to be done so that we have all the truth on this case of which the first elements are extremely worrying.”
Macron said he will take a final stance once the facts are established and would discuss the matter with leaders from Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
CNN and The Financial Times became the latest media agencies to drop out of a Saudi investment conference on Friday.
They join journalists from The Economist, CNBC and The New York Times, who pulled out of the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh earlier on Friday amid growing concerns over Khashoggi’s disappearance.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he was still planning to attend the conference.
“If more information comes out and changes, we can look at that, but I am planning on going,” he told CNBC.
France’s foreign ministry said on Friday that it had asked Saudi Arabian authorities to provide detailed answers over the question of what happened to Khashoggi.
“The disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul … has raised serious questions about his fate. France asks that the facts be clearly established and that all those who can contribute to the truth fully contribute to it,” Agnes Von der Muhll, a foreign ministry spokeswoman said in a statement.
A delegation from Saudi Arabia has arrived in the Turkish capital, Ankara, for an investigation into Khashoggi’s disappearance, according to Turkish media.
The visit follows an announcement on Thursday that Turkey had accepted a Saudi proposal to investigate Khashoggi’s disappearance jointly.
Rights group Amnesty International has called for Saudi Arabia to reveal Khashoggi’s “fate and whereabouts at this time”.
“The responsibility is clear for the kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” said MENA Regional Director, Heba Morayef.
At a press conference on Friday, Morayef said: “It is during enforced disappearances that torture happens and that killings can happen so [this is] at the minimum an enforced disappearance and – if it’s true that he was assassinated inside the embassy – then [Saudi Arabia] would also be responsible for extrajudicial executions,” she said.
US and Turkish officials told The Washington Post there are audio and video recordings proving Khashoggi was tortured and murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Video shows a Saudi assassination team seizing the journalist after he walked in on October 2. He was then killed and his body dismembered, the officials told the Post. The audio was particularly gruesome, the sources said.
“You can hear his voice and the voices of men speaking Arabic. You can hear how he was interrogated, tortured, and then murdered,” said one official speaking anonymously because the intelligence is classified.
It was unclear how the Turkish and American officials obtained the recordings.
David Katz, CEO of Global Security Group, told Al Jazeera the intelligence officials quoted by The Washington Post likely have audio and video that clandestinely recorded Khashoggi’s killing.
“It’s very possible that they do in fact have audio and video recordings of things that have gone on inside the consulate, whether that was bugs planted or electronic intercepts. So you wouldn’t really need full forensics if you have evidence of that nature. And if the report in The Washington Post is correct, that’s apparently what they have,” said Katz.
“You’ll actually hear what happened, you’ll hear the voices. There was a suggestion there was an interrogation followed by a very brutal murder… That’s the case right there.”
Khaled bin Farhan al-Saud, a Saudi prince living in exile in Germany, told The Independent that luring dissidents to meetings to “disappear” them is a common strategy used by Saudi leaders.
Al-Saud alleged Saudi officials plotted to abduct him days before Khashoggi vanished, adding that it was part of a plan by MBS to keep adversaries quiet.
“I know what can happen if I go into the embassy. Around 10 days before Jamal went missing, they asked my family to bring me to Cairo to give me a cheque. I refused,” al-Saud told the UK newspaper.
“Just five days ago a group tried to visit King Salman saying they were afraid for the future of the al-Saud family. They mentioned Mr Khashoggi’s case. They were all put in jail,” said Saud.
Everyone is “scared”, he added.
Media companies are pulling out of a Saudi investment conference because of growing outrage over Khashoggi’s disappearance.
Economist Editor-In-Chief Zanny Minton Beddoes will not participate in the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh.
Andrew Ross Sorkin, a CNBC anchor and New York Times business journalist, tweeted he was not attending the conference.
The New York Times decided to pull out of the event as a media sponsor.
The Financial Times said in a statement that it was reviewing its involvement as a media partner.
British billionaire Richard Branson said his Virgin Group would suspend discussions with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund over a planned $1bn investment in the group’s space ventures.
“What has reportedly happened in Turkey around the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, if proved true, would clearly change the ability of any of us in the West to do business with the Saudi government,” Branson said in a statement.
Branson also said he would suspend his directorship in two Saudi tourism projects around the Red Sea, citing Khashoggi’s disappearance.
Prominent Palestinian-British activist and TV presenter Azzam Tamimi dedicated his show Thursday night to his missing friend and fellow journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Khashoggi was supposed to be a guest on the programme on the Alhiwar TV Channel to talk about his future projects. Instead, the studio featured a framed photograph of Khashoggi.
Tamimi saw Khashoggi in London after his first visit to the Saudi consulate and the day before his disappearance.
“He felt it was okay (to visit the consulate), but apparently they prepared a trap for him,” Tamimi said.
US Senator Lindsey Graham told Al Jazeera that he read US intelligence that points to the Saudi government’s involvement in the disappearance of Khashoggi.
“I’ve already seen the intel. It was very unnerving. You don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to figure this out,” Graham said.
Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told Al Jazeera: “Everything that we know points to the Saudi government and yet none of us want to jump to conclusions. If I had to bet today, they ordered it, they killed him and probably very high-level people were aware of it.”
Prince Khalid bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Washington heads back to Riyadh to gather information on the whereabouts of Khashoggi.
Turkey’s official Anadolu news agency reported a Turkish official as saying Ankara and Riyadh would investigate Khashoggi’s disappearance jointly.
Earlier in the day, Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, warned against Saudi Arabia’s participation in the official probe.
Istanbul’s public prosecutor said he would continue the current investigation separately.
Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has promised to share the results of the probe into the journalist’s disappearance.
US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker said sanctions will be imposed at the “highest levels” of the Saudi leadership if Riyadh is found to have a hand in the disappearance of Khashoggi.
US President Trump said he saw no reason to block Saudi Arabian investments in the US despite concern over Khashoggi, saying the Gulf nation would then just move its money into Russia and China.
Al Jazeera’s senior political analyst Marwan Bishara said Washington had to act and pressure the Saudis if it wanted to defend its credibility.
“There is a moral aspect to it as well as an economic and geopolitical one… the only way for a win-win situation whereby the US can have the moral upper hand is by pressuring the Saudis, which will allow them to continue the economic and military relationship with Riyadh,” Bishara said.
The US has sent investigators to assist Turkey in its investigation of the disappearance of Khashoggi, US President Trump said on Thursday, adding that they are also working with Saudi Arabia.
US Kentucky Senator Rand Paul demanded a halt in military support to Saudi Arabia until Khashoggi is “returned alive”.
In an article in The Atlantic, Paul said that he planned to introduce legislation to scrap “all funding, training, advising, and any other coordination” with the kingdom until they received confirmation that the journalist is alive.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has increased pressure on Riyadh over the disappearance of Khashoggi, saying that Ankara “cannot remain silent to such an incident”.
Speaking to reporters after a visit to Hungary, Erdogan expressed disbelief at Saudi claims that Khashoggi disappeared without being picked up by security cameras as he left the consulate.
“How is it possible for a consulate, an embassy not to have security camera systems?” he said.
Erdogan added that the investigation by Turkey’s legal, security and intelligence bodies is ongoing.
Turkish investigators have heard testimony from a source who was inside the Saudi consulate at the time of Khashoggi’s disappearance who claims to have heard sounds of a struggle, according to Al Jazeera’s Jamal Elshayyal, reporting from Istanbul.
“I learned that, among the evidence is testimony from inside the consulate at the time that Jamal [Khashoggi] was there, which includes hearing sounds of loud screams and shouting, as well as calls for help and the sound of a struggle, then sudden silence,” he said.
Turkish foreign ministry sources denied to Al Jazeera that Saudis rescinded their authorisation for Turkish authorities to search the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Turkish investigators are also requesting to search a number of vehicles registered to the consulate, along with the home of the consul general after a van with tinted windows was seen leaving the consulate and driving there a couple of hours after Khashoggi entered.
The identities of at least eight of the alleged 15-member Saudi “assassination squad” that Turkish authorities believe carried out Khashoggi’s assassination are beginning to come to light.
The head of the forensic unit in the Saudi defence forces, a former head of intelligence at the Saudi Arabian embassy in London and several special forces officers are among the group, which flew into Istanbul on Tuesday, October 2, Al Jazeera reports.
The Washington Post reports the Saudi crown prince himself ordered an operation targeting Jamal Khashoggi.
Based on US intelligence intercepts, Saudi officials were heard discussing a plan to lure Khashoggi from the US state of Virginia, where he resides, back to Saudi Arabia where he would be detained.
It was not clear to the officials with knowledge of the intelligence whether the Saudis discussed harming Khashoggi as part of the plan to capture him, it said.
His friends told the Post Khashoggi had been approached by Saudi officials with close ties to the crown prince with offers to reconcile and return to the kingdom.
The writer was sceptical of the offers, however.
In comments made to an American TV network, President Trump indicated the Saudis may have killed the critical Saudi journalist.
In a telephone interview with Fox News Channel, Trump said: “I guess you would have to say so far it’s looking a little bit like that, and we’re going to have to see.”
During the interview, Trump expressed reluctance to withhold US arms sales to the kingdom, saying that US jobs and economic strength are tied to such trade deals.
More than 20 Republican and Democratic senators instructed Trump to order an investigation into Khashoggi’s disappearance under legislation that authorises imposing sanctions on perpetrators of extrajudicial killings.
US Senator Chris Murphy said if Saudi Arabia had lured a US resident into a consulate and killed him, “it’s time for the United States to rethink our military, political and economic relationship with Saudi Arabia.”
Senator Rand Paul, a long-time critic of the Saudi government, said he’ll try to force a vote in the Senate this week blocking US arms sales to Saudi Arabia.
Karen Elliott House, veteran writer on Saudi affairs and chairwoman of the board of trustees at RAND Corp, said US support for the Yemen war is likely to be the focus of congressional criticism, but it won’t endanger a relationship that has endured for decades, underpinned by shared strategic interests.
The Saudi ambassador to Washington, Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, has described the allegations as “malicious leaks and grim rumours” and said the kingdom is “gravely concerned” about Khashoggi.
Saudi officials maintain he left the consulate shortly after entering, though it has failed to provide evidence to back that up.
The White House said National Security Advisor John Bolton and Senior Advisor Jared Kushner – Trump’s son-in-law – spoke to MBS about Khashoggi’s disappearance over the past two days.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo followed up with his own call to the crown prince, who has forged close ties to the Trump administration, especially Kushner.
Twenty-two US senators signed a letter to President Trump triggering a US investigation into whether human rights sanctions should be imposed on Saudi Arabi over Khashoggi’s disappearance under a provision of the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act. The Act requires the president to determine whether a foreign person is responsible for a gross human rights violation.
Ernest Moniz, who served as President Barack Obama’s energy secretary, said he has suspended his role on the board of Saudi Arabia’s planned megacity NEOM until more is known about the fate of Khashoggi.
Moniz is one of 18 people advising MBS on the $500bn NEOM project.
The New York Times writes that Saudi officials on Tuesday began for the first time to contact Turkish counterparts for secret talks about Khashoggi’s disappearance.
A Turkish security official told Reuters news agency the Apple smartwatch Khashoggi was wearing at the time of his disappearance was being looked into by Turkish investigators.
They said the watch was connected to a mobile phone Khashoggi left outside and security and intelligence agents in Turkey believe it may provide important clues as to Khashoggi’s whereabouts or what happened to him.
President Trump says the US is “demanding” answers from Saudi Arabia about Khashoggi and that he wants to bring his fiancee to the White House.
Trump told reporters in the Oval Office on Wednesday that he has a call in to Hatice Cengiz.
Turkish media have published images of an alleged 15-member Saudi “assassination squad” and video of suspicious movements at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul following Khashoggi’s disappearance.
News channel 24, a private Turkish TV channel close to Erdogan, has aired surveillance video of Khashoggi walking into the Saudi consulate and a black van leaving later for the consul’s home, suggesting that Khashoggi was inside the black Mercedes Vito.
Saudi Arabia did not respond to requests for comment on Wednesday.
Khashoggi’s fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, is asking Trump and first lady Melania to “help shed light” on his disappearance in a column published Wednesday by the Washington Post.