Jamal Khashoggi case: All the latest updates

Here are the latest developments related to the Saudi journalist’s murder inside the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul.

Jamal Khashoggi

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

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

After weeks of repeated denials that it had anything to do with his disappearance, the kingdom eventually acknowledged that its officials were behind the gruesome murder. The whereabouts of his body are still unknown.

Here are the latest related developments:

Tuesday, February 12

Pompeo denies US trying to cover up Khashoggi killing

The Trump administration has pushed back against allegations that it was trying to cover up the killing of Saudi columnist Jamal Khashoggi when it failed to send Congress a report determining who was responsible for his death.

“America is not covering up for a murder,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters at the US Embassy in Budapest.

“America has taken more action in response to the tragic murder of Jamal Khashoggi and will continue to take more action, continue our investigation.

“We are working diligently on that. The president has been very clear, couldn’t be more clear, as we get additional information, we will continue to hold all of those responsible accountable.”

Late last year, 22 bipartisan members of the Senate called for an investigation into Khashoggi’s October 2 death and specifically whether Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was responsible. The investigation was requested under provisions of the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act.

The act required the president to report back by February 8 to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on whether the crown prince was responsible.

Senator Chris Murphy, told CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday that by law, when the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee asks the president to make a finding as to a human rights violation overseas, the president has to respond.

“That’s what the law says. So he doesn’t have an option here.”

Monday, February 11

Saudis don’t know where Khashoggi’s body is: Adel al-Jubeir

Riyadh says it doesn’t know the location of Jamal Khashoggi’s body, despite having detained the Saudi team that murdered him, Adel al-Jubeir, Saudi Arabia’s minister of state for foreign affairs has said.

Jubeir said the murder was carried out by Saudi officials “acting outside their scope of authority” and that 11 people have been charged with the crime.

But asked where Khashoggi’s body is, he told CBS’s “Face the Nation,” “We don’t know.”

Jubeir said the public prosecutor responsible for the case had sought evidence from Turkey but had received no response.

Questioned why those in custody couldn’t tell them where the body was, Jubeir responded: “We are still investigating.”

“We have now a number of possibilities and we’re asking them what they did with the body, and I think this investigation is ongoing, and I would expect that eventually we will find the truth,” he said.


Saturday, February 9

NY Times: Saudi Khashoggi cover-up falling apart

Saudi Arabia’s efforts to cover up the case of slain journalist Khashoggi case further unraveled this week, according to The New York Times.

The latest demands for a reckoning “have come from American intelligence agencies, a United Nations investigator and a coalition of nongovernmental organisations, sources that in their diversity and breadth should serve notice on [Saudi Crown] Prince Mohammed [bin Salman] that all his oil wealth and powerful friends will not wash away the blood of the slain journalist,” the paper said in its lead editorial on Friday.

The Times editorial, ‘Saudi Arabia’s Threadbare Cover-Up of Khashoggi’s Killing Unravels Further,’ said bin Salman and his friends in the White House “evidently calculated that the outcry over the barbarous murder of Jamal Khashoggi would die over time”.

They were wrong, and also mistaken to think that bin Salman could freely continue his “autocratic way, repressing critics and dissidents with impunity’ once the outcry came to an end, said the Times editorial board.

“The pressure must continue. Congress should continue to demand a full disclosure of CIA records related to Mr. Khashoggi’s murder, with the identities of all those responsible for it,” the editorial said.

“And all who rue Mr. Khashoggi’s fate should demand that Saudi Arabia cease the repression of those Saudis in whose name he spoke out”.

Trump misses Senate deadline to report on Khashoggi killing

US President Donald Trump declined to meet a Friday deadline to report to the Senate on whether the White House believes Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, also known as MBS, ordered the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Although the White House has sanctioned 17 Saudi individuals for their involvement in the murder, including two top aides to MBS, members of Congress have called for greater action to be taken against the kingdom and its leaders.

“President Trump has steadfastly insisted the US-Saudi relationship is more important than establishing accountability for murder,” said Al Jazeera’s Mike Hanna, reporting from Washington, DC.

Friday, February 8

Targeting MBS over Khashoggi ‘a red line’: Saudi minister

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (also known as MBS) was “not involved” in Khashoggi’s murder and blaming him would be crossing “a red line,” Saudi Arabia’s minister of state for foreign affairs has said.

“For anyone to think that they can dictate what we should do, what our leadership should do, is preposterous,” Adel al-Jubeir told reporters in Washington, where many US lawmakers have stated they believe MBS is responsible for the killing.

“Our leadership is a red line,” Jubeir added.

The Saudi minister declined to comment on a New York Times story, which claimed that the crown prince in 2017 said he would use “a bullet” on the journalist if he did not return home and end his criticism of the government.

“We know that this [October 2 killing] was not an authorised operation. There was no order given to conduct this operation,” Jubeir said.

Hatice Cengiz: No closure until Khashoggi’s remains are found

Hatice Cengiz, the fiancée of slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, has said there will be no closure until Jamal Khashoggi’s remains are found so that his family and loved ones can visit his grave to grieve and pray.

“It is important for us that the body is found, that we have a place at which his beloved ones could say prayers,” Hatice Cengiz said in Istanbul at the release of the book “Jamal Khashoggi: His Life, Struggles and Secrets.”

The 228-page book, written by two Turkish journalists, is based on interviews with Cengiz. She described it as “emotional,” as it portrays a side of Khashoggi seen by those closest to him.

There are photographs of him carrying a coffee machine to their new home in Istanbul, their engagement ceremony and of him outside the US Congress.

UN expert: Saudis held another hearing in Khashoggi probe

Saudi Arabia quietly held a second court hearing for 11 people facing charges over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, an independent U.N. human rights expert said, criticising the kingdom for its lack of transparency in the proceedings over the grisly slaying.

Agnes Callamard, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, said she learned of the hearing during her first visit to Turkey last week to investigate the murder.

“Given the importance of the case, we should be expecting a greater presence of representatives of the media, of civil society, of a range of other governments, not just those hand-picked by the Saudi authorities,” said Callamard.

Callamard declined to specify who told her about the hearing, but cited “reliable” sources about information “that I have been able to cross-check.”

Saudi Arabia has not revealed the defendants’ names or the names of their lawyers.

The kingdom’s chief prosecutor, Saud Al-Mojeb, has said that of 21 people taken into custody in the case, 11 have been indicted and referred to trial. It’s unclear if they remain detained during the trial or where they’re being held.

Turkey says Saudi lack of transparency on Khashoggi concerning, detrimental to credibility

The “complete lack of transparency” from Saudi officials on the investigation into the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi is deeply concerning and detrimental to their credibility, an aide to Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said.

Fahrettin Altun, Erdogan’s communications director, told the Reuters news agency that the series of “false denials” from Saudi officials had led to uncertainty on a host of issues around the case.

“Over the past four months, the Saudi authorities have been less than forthcoming in their dealings with their Turkish counterparts and the international community,” Altun said in a written statement to Reuters.

“Saudi authorities must extradite Mr. Khashoggi’s killers to Turkey, where they committed a premeditated murder, as proof of their willingness to serve the cause of justice.”

Saudi Arabia has previously denied Turkey’s extradition request for the 11 suspects, five of whom are facing the death penalty in Saudi Arabia.

MBS threatened to use ‘a bullet’ on Khashoggi a year before murder

A year before Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told an aide he would use “a bullet” on the journalist if he did not return home and end his criticism of the government, according to a New York Times report.

The comments were made in a conversation between Prince Mohammed and his aide Turki Aldakhil in September 2017, and were intercepted by American intelligence agencies, the newspaper reported.

They were the “most detailed evidence to date” that the crown prince considered killing Khashoggi, the news report said.

US intelligence analysts have interpreted the “bullet” comment metaphorically, meaning the crown prince did not necessarily mean to have Khashoggi shot, but they do think it showed his intent to have the journalist killed if he did not return to the kingdom, the daily said.

UN: Riyadh ‘undermined’ Turkey’s access to Khashoggi murder scene


Thursday, February 7

CPJ demands justice for Khashoggi, Trump to hold MBS accountable

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) demanded accountability on Thursday for the murder of Saudi columnist Jamal Khashoggi – a day before the US government is due to report to Congress on the killing.

“The US Congress has rightfully condemned the murder and asked for answers from the Trump administration, which has insisted on doubling down on the ‘special’ relationship with the repressive kingdom and discounted the findings of his own intelligence agency,” Courtney Radsch, CPJ’s advocacy director, said outside the White House.

UN rapporteur: Khashoggi murder ‘perpetrated’ by Saudi officials

The UN human rights investigator leading the international inquiry into the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi said evidence showed he was a victim of “a brutal and premeditated killing, planned and perpetrated by officials of the state of Saudi Arabia”.

Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard said on Thursday her three-member team had access to part of “chilling and gruesome audio material” of the murder obtained by Turkish intelligence agencies.

Saudi Arabia also “seriously undermined” Turkey’s efforts to investigate Khashoggi’s killing at its Istanbul consulate, said a UN statement.

“Woefully inadequate time and access was granted to Turkish investigators to conduct a professional and effective crime-scene examination and search required by international standards for investigation,” Callamard said.


Tuesday, February 5

Khashoggi’s fiancee publishes book in memory of slain journalist

Hatice Cengiz, the fiancée of slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has announced the publication of a memoir in which she discusses the work and legacy of the famed critic.

Cengiz, 37, said on Monday the book, entitled Jamal Khashoggi: His Life, Struggles and Secrets, was inspired by a personal diary she kept in which she documented her first encounter with the journalist as well as his personality and relationship with friends and family.

Tuesday, January 29

UN Khashoggi investigator meets Istanbul chief prosecutor

The UN human rights investigator leading the international inquiry into the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi is meeting Istanbul’s chief prosecutor on Tuesday.

Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard, on a week-long visit to Turkey with a forensic and legal team, met Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu a day earlier.

“We have made a request to the Saudi government for access to the consulate as well as meetings with Saudi authorities here. We’re waiting for their response,” Callamard told Al Jazeera on Tuesday.

Callamard said her report would be made public in time for the June session of the UN human rights council.

Saturday, January 26

Khashoggi inquiry seeks access to Saudi consulate, kingdom

Agnes Callamard, the UN human rights investigator leading an international inquiry into the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, has made a request to access to the crime scene in Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul and to visit the kingdom.

“I have requested access to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and a meeting with the ambassador of the Kingdom of Saud Arabia in Turkey,” Callamard said in an email to Reuters.

“I have also sought permission to conduct a similar country-visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

“I conceive of this inquiry to be a necessary step, among a number of others, towards crucial truth telling about and formal accountability for the gruesome killing of Mr. Khashoggi,” she said.

“It is hoped this will help ensure accountability and transparency in this case and may open new avenues for the prevention and protection of the right to life in other cases, including of journalists and human rights defenders, and accountability for their killings”.

The Saudi mission in Geneva and government media office in Riyadh have not responded to Reuters inquiries about the international investigation.

Friday, January 25

Saudis to Davos: Move on from Khashoggi, let’s do business

Saudi Arabia has emerged as the darling of the World Economic Forum in Davos, with Saudi economy minister Mohammad Al Tuwaijri saying that the situation with the kingdom had stabilised and it was “business as usual” following the brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

“On a day-to-day basis in Saudi Arabia it is business as usual. Our job as government is to make sure infrastructure, legal in particular, is stable. This transformation journey hopefully will attract investors,” Tuwaijri said.

Swiss President Ueli Maurer echoed this view telling Swiss news agency SDA that he wanted to build strong relations with Riyadh which is a major global investor.

“We have long since dealt with the Khashoggi case,” Maurer said.

“We have agreed to continue the financial dialogue and normalize relations again”.

UN names members of international inquiry into Khashoggi murder

Agnes Callamard, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, will travel to Turkey next week to head an “independent international inquiry” into the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

In a statement, the UN human rights office said that Callamard would be accompanied by Helena Kennedy and Duarte Nuno Vieira on the visit to Turkey from January 28 to February 3.

Thursday, January 24

Turkey says it is time for international Khashoggi investigation

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has it is time for an international investigation to be launched into the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

In an interview with Turkish broadcaster A Haber, Cavusoglu said President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ordered preparations to be made to carry the case to an international level, and said a United Nations special rapporteur will be coming to Turkey.

Monday, January 21

West trying to cover up Khashoggi murder: Turkish FM

Turkey’s foreign minister has accused some western countries of trying to cover up the murder Jamal Khashoggi.

“We see how those, who speak of freedom of press in the world, cover this thing up when they see money,” Mevlut Cavusoglu told a youth meeting in Istanbul.

Cavusoglu said that Turkey acted wisely in the case, adding that they were well-aware of the difficulties in shedding light on the murder.

“Now we have made preparations for an international probe in the coming days. We will take the necessary steps,” he added.

Saturday, January 19

Lindsey Graham: US-Saudi ties can’t move until MBS is ‘dealt with’

Senator Lindsey Graham has said the US Congress will reintroduce sanctions against those involved in the killing of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi, adding that the relationship between Washington and Riyadh could not move forward until Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) is “dealt with”.

“We will start sanctioning those involved in the killing of Mr Khashoggi,” Graham told reporters in Ankara.

“We will make a definitive statement that MBS knew about it and is responsible for it and come up with a series of sanctions to let others know this is not what you do if you’re an ally of the United States”.

Friday, January 18

Khashoggi killing exposes Saudi abuses: Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch has said the murder of Jamal Khashoggi is putting other “abuses” by Saudi Arabia in the spotlight.

“The Khashoggi murder has not only wrecked Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s reputation but has exposed a pattern of lawless behavior by Saudi leadership,” Michael Page, HRW’s deputy Middle East and North Africa director said.

“If Saudi Arabia has any hope of rehabilitating its tattered image, the authorities should immediately release everyone they’ve locked away merely for their peaceful criticism,” he added.

The report also said that Saudi Arabia had committed numerous violations of international humanitarian law in Yemen, citing the attack on a wedding last April that killed 22 and wounded more than 50.

The kingdom is the leader of a coalition taking part in military operations against the Houthis who control large swathes of Yemen.

Sunday, January 13

Saudi Arabia must hold Khashoggi’s killers ‘accountable’: Pompeo

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said he will ask Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to ensure the killers of journalist Jamal Khashoggi are held accountable for their crimes.

Pompeo is due to travel to the kingdom later on Sunday, nearly three months after Khashoggi was murdered in the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul.

“We will continue to have a conversation with the crown prince and the Saudis about ensuring the accountability is full and complete with respect to the unacceptable murder of Jamal Khashoggi,” Pompeo told reporters in the Qatari capital Doha.

Friday, January 11

MBS in touch with ‘former’ Saudi royal adviser al-Qahtani: Report

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (also known as MBS) remains in regular contact with his adviser Saud al-Qahtani, who is accused of masterminding the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the Washington Post reported.

The newspaper, citing unnamed US and Saudi sources, said that Prince Mohammed continues to seek advice from al-Qahtani.

David Ignatius, the paper’s security affairs correspondent, quoted an unnamed US citizen who had recently met MBS as saying that al-Qahtani is in possession of a lot of files and dossiers.

“The idea that you can have a radical rupture with him is unrealistic,” the source said.

A Saudi who is close to the royal court concurred.

Will there be justice for Jamal Khashoggi?


On Thursday, friends, politicians and human-rights activists gathered to remember Jamal Khashoggi, 100 days after the Saudi journalist was killed.

A vigil was organised at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, where Khashoggi was murdered on October 2, and a memorial service was held in the US Congress in Washington, DC.

Thursday, January 10

Justice still elusive 100 days after Khashoggi’s murder


Amnesty calls for international probe into Khashoggi murder

Amnesty International has reiterated its call for an international probe into the killing of Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

The human rights watchdog made the call outside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Tuesday as it marked the 100th day since Khashoggi was killed there.

“It is important for the Turkish authorities to keep up their calls for an independent UN investigation, but really the whole international community needs to commit to this so that justice is done,” Amnesty’s Andrew Gardner told Al Jazeera.

Tuesday, January 8

Saudi Arabia refuses to confirm Qahtani’s whereabouts

Saudi authorities are refusing to confirm the whereabouts of Saud al-Qahtani, the former top aide to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS).

Khalil Jahshan, executive director of the Arab Centre of Washington, told Al Jazeera that Qahtani’s disappearance is a “natural progression of [Saudi Arabia’s] investigation” and is likely used as a strategy to keep MBS protected from accusations regarding Khashoggi’s murder.

“They have sheltered some of the key players accused of being involved [in the murder] whether by Turkey or by the international community,” Jahshan said.

Friday, January 4 

Pompeo to visit Saudi Arabia, seek update on Khashoggi

US Secretary of State will seek an update to Saudi Arabia’s investigation into the killing of Jamal Khashoggi when he visits Riyadh during a trip to the Middle East next week, the State Department said on Friday. 

Pompeo will also visit Jordan, Egypt, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait as part of his January 8 to January 15 trip, the department said in a statement. 

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Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies