Saudi arrests in Khashoggi death 'a good first step'

Geraldine Edwards
October 21, 2018

The investigation revealed that "suspects" had traveled to Istanbul to meet with Khashoggi "as there were indications of the possibility of the latter returning to the country", state media reported, without any explanation as to why Khashoggi's return to his home country would require such a meeting or the suspects' affiliations.

Asked whether Saudi sanctions were one of the measures he was considering, Trump said, "Could be, could be", though he provided no details.

Turkey said it had not shared with any country audio recordings purportedly documenting Khashoggi's murder, dismissing reports it had passed them to the United States.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday said they were going to give the Saudi's a few more days to release results of their investigation into Khashoggi's death.

The Saudi prosecutor has said that 18 suspects have been taken into custody so far.

Despite Trump's apparent satisfaction with the Saudi statement, politicians including Trump ally Senator Lindsey Graham expressed scepticism about the kingdom's account, which was vastly different from that given by Turkish officials, who said an "assassination squad" sent by the kingdom had killed and dismembered Mr Khashoggi.

King Salman, his father, appointed him to lead a committee that will restructure the kingdom's intelligence services after Mr Khashoggi's slaying.

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"Repeated accusations, allegations and biased media campaigns will not discourage (Saudi Arabia) from holding to its principles", Sheikh Abderrahman al-Sadis said during a sermon accompanying Friday prayers at the mosque in Mecca, the holiest site in Islam.

"The claim that Khashoggi was killed while brawling with 15 men dispatched from Saudi Arabia is not at all credible".

"God have mercy on you my love Jamal, and may you rest in Paradise", Khashoggi's fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, tweeted following the Saudi announcements.

As far as the USA response to his killing is concerned, President Donald Trump has said it's a good first step. Transparent investigation is needed and those responsible must be brought to justice.

However, a CNN reporter clarified that her sources mentioned that Khashoggi had died after he was put in a "choke-hold" during interrogation in the Saudi consulate.

"We are saddened to hear confirmation of Mr Khashoggi's death, and we offer our deepest condolences to his family, fiancee and friends", White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said after Saudi Arabia issued the statement.

Britain's former spy chief John Sawers said "all the evidence" suggested Khashoggi - who went missing from the Saudi embassy in Istanbul on October 2 - was killed on the orders of someone close to Mohammed bin Salman.

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Germany has joined other nations in calling for a credible investigation into Khashoggi's death.

His death occurred after a heated discussion turned into a quarrel and then a fist fight, they allege.

The kingdom has arrested 18 people whom they claim are connected to the incident, reported The Guardian.

"The kingdom and all involved in this brutal murder must be held accountable, and if the Trump Administration will not take the lead, Congress must", he said.

The kingdom at the same time announced the firing of four top intelligence officials, including Maj.

In this April 9, 2018 photo, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is welcomed by French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe in Paris, France.

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