Jamal Khashoggi case: A timeline of events surrounding his murder

Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018.

Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2. He has not been seen since [Petros Giannakouris/AP]

Journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul a year ago by a team of agents from the kingdom. His dismembered body has not been found.

The Saudi writer, who was a columnist for the Washington Post newspaper, had entered the building to obtain documentation certifying he had divorced his ex-wife so that he could re-marry.

Turkish intelligence agencies have concluded that he was killed in a premeditated murder, while the CIA has reportedly found that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman likely ordered the killing, but Riyadh has consistently denied that the crown prince was involved.

Saudi Arabia has put 11 suspects on trial in the kingdom and has sought the death penalty for five of the accused, but human rights experts have called for an independent, international judicial process for the case.

Here’s a timeline of events surrounding Khashoggi’s death:

June 2017

Khashoggi leaves Saudi Arabia for Washington, DC, where he hopes to continue writing amid a crackdown on dissent in his native Saudi Arabia.

“As we speak today, there [are] Saudi intellectuals and journalists. Now, nobody will dare to speak and criticise the reforms [initiated by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman],” the famed critic told Al Jazeera’s UpFront in March.


“Let’s talk about something other than women driving. The NEOM project, the futuristic city that he [the crown prince] plans to invest half a trillion dollars in. What if it goes wrong? It could bankrupt the country.” 

May 2018

The journalist meets Hatice Cengiz, a 36-year-old Turkish PhD student to whom he is soon engaged.      

September 28, 2018           

Khashoggi pays a first visit to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain a document attesting he had divorced his ex-wife, a requirement under Turkish law, in order that he be able to marry Cengiz. 

October 2, 2018

Accompanied by Cengiz – who waited outside the consulate – Khashoggi is recorded by surveillance cameras entering the building at 13:14pm (10:14 GMT).

Cengiz is instructed to contact Yasin Aktay, a close aide to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in case anything goes wrong.

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

Wednesday, October 3, 2018 

Saudi authorities issue a statement confirming Khashoggi’s disappearance but insist he had left the building.

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

A spokesperson for the Turkish presidency, however, says that Khashoggi did not leave the consulate

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Turkey’s foreign ministry summoned Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Ankara over the disappearance of Khashoggi.

The ambassador, however, denied knowing anything about Khashoggi’s disappearance, adding that he would inform authorities once he obtained further information. 


Friday, October 5, 2018 

Mohammed bin Salman says that Khashoggi is not inside the consulate, adding that he is not against a Turkish investigation taking place and searching the mission.

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

Saturday, October 6, 2018 

Reuters journalists tour the six-storey consulate in northern Istanbul where Khashoggi was last seen. 

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

A government source says Turkish police believe Khashoggi was murdered inside the consulate. 

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he remains hopeful about the fate of Khashoggi amid reports that the critic may have been killed

Erdogan says video footage of the entrances to the consulate would be reviewed as well as the monitoring of all inbound and outbound flights. 

Yasin Aktay, Erdogan’s adviser, tells Reuters he believes Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate. 

Aktay added that a 15-man hit squad was “most certainly involved” in the matter.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Erdogan says the burden of proof falls on the Saudis, while US President Donald Trump says he is concerned about reports of Khashoggi’s disappearance. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

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


Saudi Arabia agrees to let Turkish authorities search the consulate. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Turkish media publish images of an alleged 15-member Saudi “assassination squad” and video of suspicious movements at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul following Khashoggi’s disappearance.

Another Turkish media channel airs surveillance video of Khashoggi walking into the Saudi consulate

Thursday, October 11, 2018

The identities of at least eight of the alleged 15-member Saudi “assassination squad” that Turkish authorities believe carried out Khashoggi’s assassination are made public.

Ankara and Riyadh say they will form a joint group to look into Khashoggi’s disappearance.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Officials tell Turkish and US media recordings exist of Khashoggi’s final moments inside the Saudi consulate.

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

Monday, October 15, 2018

Turkish authorities enter the Saudi consulate and later say they have found evidence that supports suspicions Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Trump says killing of Khashoggi might be the work of “rogue killers”.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Turkish investigators enter the home of the Saudi consul in their search for Jamal Khashoggi.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Turkish media report that Khashoggi was killed “within minutes” of entering the embassy

US President Trump says it “certainly looks” as though Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi is dead.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Saudi Arabia confirms Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi consulate on October 2. Following the confirmation, 18 nationals are arrested for their involvement and five officials are sacked.

A Saudi Arabian officials tells 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.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Reuters news agency reports that Saud al-Qahtani, a former royal court media adviser and top aide to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, orchestrated Khashoggi’s killing at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul

CNN airs footage of an apparent Jamal Khashoggi body double who was brought to Istanbul by the Saudi team.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

President Erdogan accuses Saudi Arabia of planning the killing days before his murder on October 2, calling for answers regarding who ordered the killing.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Turkey says it has shared audio recordings of the murder with a number of governments, including the United States.

“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,” Erdogan said.

Turkish investigators end their search for Khashoggi’s body.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Saudi Arabia indicts eleven people it deems responsible for the murder of Khashoggi. The Saudi prosecutor also says it will seek the death penalty for five of them who gave the orders and oversaw the execution of the murder.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

The CIA intelligence agency reportedly concludes that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

US President Donald Trump says he will not listen to the audio tapes of the Khashoggi murder. 

In an interview with Fox News, Trump says “we have the tape, I don’t want to hear the tape, no reason for me to hear the tape.”

Monday, November 19, 2018

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir says that claims that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered Khashoggi’s killing were false.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

White House stresses importance of Saudi-US relationship in official statement.

That being said, we may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi. In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the statement says.

16 December, 2018

UN chief Antonio Guterres calls for a “credible” investigation into Khashoggi’s murder.

“It is absolutely essential to have a credible investigation and to have the punishment of those that were guilty,” Guterres says.

3 January, 2019

The murder trial of 11 suspects begins in Saudi Arabia, with the accused attending the hearing along with their lawyers.The attorney general demands the death penalty for five of the men.

5 January, 2019

UN human rights office says Saudi trial is “not sufficient”, with spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani reiterating the office’s call for an independent investigation “with international involvement”.

28 January, 2019

A UN team led by Agnes Callamard, special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, begins an investigation into the murder. The team visits the Saudi consulate in Istanbul during a week-long stay in the city.

The investigators will try to find out “the nature and extent of the responsibilities of states and individuals” in relation to Khashoggi’s killing, Callamard said.

19 June, 2019

Callamard issues report on the murder, saying Mohammed bin Salman should be investigated over the killing.

Callamard says Khashoggi’s death “constituted an extrajudicial killing for which the State of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is responsible”.

Saudi authorities dismiss the findings in the report and claim conclusions are “unfounded”.

10 July, 2019

Special rapporteur Agnes Callamard and Hatice Cengiz warn that democratic values worldwide would be at risk should Saudi Arabia escape accountability for Khashoggi’s murder.

10 September, 2019

Turkish media release transcripts of audio recorded during murder, detailing the conversations between the journalist and members of the 15-man hit squad moments before his assassination.

30 September, 2019

Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman denies ordering killing of Khashoggi in interview with US media, but said he ultimately bears “full responsibility” for what happened because he is the country’s leader.

Source: Al Jazeera