Saudi Arabia admitted that Jamal Khashoggi, and ardent critic of present Saudi Arabian regime, was killed inside its Istanbul consulate. The admission said that the death occurred during a fist fight.
“Discussions that took place between him and the persons who met him … at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul led to a brawl and a fist fight with the citizen, Jamal Khashoggi, which led to his death, may his soul rest in peace,” the attorney-general said in a statement.
“The investigations are still under way and 18 Saudi nationals have been arrested.”
The preliminary investigation conducted by the prosecutor found that the “suspects” traveled to Istanbul to meet with Khashoggi as he had expressed interest in returning to Saudi Arabia, the official news agency said. Discussions that took place “developed in a negative way” and “led to a fight and a quarrel between some of them and the citizen,” it said. “The brawl aggravated to lead to his death and their attempt to conceal and cover what happened,” it said.
Riyadh has fired five top intelligence officials and arrested 18 other Saudis as a result of the initial investigation. Those fired included Saud al-Qahtani, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s adviser and deputy intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Ahmed al-Assiri.
There is still a veil over the circumstances leading to killing and the dead body remains unaccounted for. Khashoggi was a columnist for The Washington Post who was critical of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s (MBS) , went missing on October 2 after entering the consulate in Istanbul to obtain documents needed for his upcoming marriage.
Washington has already rushed to a brush the incident under carpet with president Donald Trump saying that he found Saudi Arabia’s explanation about Khashoggi’s credible. Turkish officials , however, maintain that Khashoggi – a U.S. resident – was killed by a 15-member Saudi hit.
The disappearance of Khashoggi has provoked global criticism of the crown prince, Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, and convulsed the kingdom as it struggles to respond to increasing international pressure to explain the journalist’s fate.