‘Who sent hit squad that killed Khashoggi?’
Saudi prosecutor Saud Al Mojeb held talks with Istanbul’s prosecutor on Monday and yesterday about Khashoggi’s death in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, which has escalated into a crisis for the world’s top oil exporter.
Riyadh at first denied any knowledge of, or role in, his disappearance four weeks ago, but Mojeb has contradicted those statements, saying the killing of Khashoggi, a critic of de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was premeditated.
The case has put into focus the West’s close relationship with Saudi Arabia - a major arms buyer and lynchpin of Washington’s regional plans to contain Iran - given the widespread scepticism over its initial response.
Turkey has kept up the pressure on the Saudis, demanding a full explanation and releasing a steady flow of evidence that undermined Riyadh’s early denials. Saudi Arabia says that 18 suspects in the case will face justice in the kingdom, despite repeated calls from Ankara for them to be extradited for trial in Turkey.
“Yesterday, our prosecutor told the Saudi prosecutor that the prosecution could be carried out in Turkey since the location of the crime is Istanbul,” Erdogan said at Turkey’s parliament.
Saudi officials also needed to disclose who had sent a 15-strong team to Istanbul to carry out the operation targeting Khashoggi, as well as the identity of a local agent said to have helped dispose of his body.
“Saudi officials need to reveal the local co-operators There is no point trying to save some people from under this.”
Meanwhile, Khashoggi’s fiancée has called on US President Donald Trump and other leaders to ensure that his death in Istanbul is not covered up.
Speaking at a memorial in London on Monday, Hatice Cengiz expressed disappointment in the “leadership of many countries”. Singling out Trump, she urged him to “help reveal the truth and ensure justice be served”.
“He should not pave the way for a cover-up of my fiance’s murder. Let’s not let money taint our conscience and compromise our values,” she said.
Cengiz said in reference to an alleged Saudi hit squad sent to kill the columnist: “If only I knew that would be the last time I would see my Jamal, his smile, hear his laughter, I would have stood in front of that murderous team myself.” Reuters AP