Imagine the distress the family of Washington Post journalist and Saudi activist Jamal Khashoggi must be experiencing. Not only do they rightly fear he is dead, in their religion, a deceased person must be buried within 24 hours after death. Yet, the search for his body has taken almost three weeks. That all is about to change.
The body parts of the murdered journalist have finally been found. Sources told Sky News that Khashoggi was not only dismembered, his face was “disfigured” at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul.
Apparently, the man’s body was found in the Saudi consul general’s garden at his home. Khashoggi was last seen as he walked into the Saudi consulate back on October 2.
The Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, called the murder “savage.” He did not release how the journalist had been killed, but it was apparent that the Saudi’s had planned the “savage murder.”
He did not talk about whether audio recordings in the Saudi embassy by the Turkish government existed. However, he did say Khashoggi was tortured, his fingers had been cut off — perhaps in a symbolic gesture for his criticism of the Saudi prince and heir apparent.
Mohammed bin Salman is notoriously thin-skinned. The journalist had condemned some of the prince’s actions, but his criticism was mild in comparison to other critics.
The Turkish president said they were able to discover Khashoggi’s dismembered body based on “new evidence and information.” Apparently, that data contradicted the Saudi’s explanation of how the journalist died. Their story said that the man died in a “fist fight” in the Saudi consulate.
Erdogan addressed the Turkish parliament and said 18 people had been caught. Three of them were assigned to the consulate. An additional 15 were apparently members of the hit team that traveled to Istanbul for the attack on Khashoggi. He said that they would go to trial in Istanbul:
‘To blame such an incident on a handful of security and intelligence members would not satisfy us or the international community. Saudi Arabia has taken an important step by admitting the murder. As of now we expect of them to openly bring to light those responsible – from the highest ranked to the lowest – and to bring them to justice.’
Erdogan said the Saudi’s explanation that this was a rogue operation “will not satisfy us.” He also claimed that the killers should not receive diplomatic immunity.
Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesperson said:
‘President Erdogan’s statement this morning underscores the fact there remain questions which only the Saudis have the answers to.’
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt tweeted he was “deeply concerned” when he heard the Turkish president describe the Saudi dissident’s killing as premeditated:
‘The world is still waiting for answers.’
It seems that King Salman of Saudi Arabia and the crown prince met Khashoggi’s two sons, Sahel and Salah. The king released a statement after Erdogan’s address, where he pledged to hold Mr Khashoggi’s killers responsible:
‘No matter who they may be.’
Featured image is a screenshot via YouTube.