UN Special Rapporteur Claims Saudi State Responsible for Khashoggi's Murder

Gina Haspel

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has reiterated his country's call for Riyadh to disclose who ordered the killing of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul and what has happened to his body.

Saudi Arabia initially denied reports he had been abducted or murdered in the consulate, but on October 19, Riyadh admitted he had been killed during a fight inside the diplomatic facility.

Khashoggi lived in self-imposed exile in the US for the past year and wrote editorial columns for The Washington Post that were critical of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom's heir apparent, and his crackdown on dissent.

Sources have told MEE that Khashoggi was tortured, murdered and dismembered by a hit squad of 15 Saudis sent to Istanbul to kill him.

Riyadh acknowledged on Thursday that the murder appeared to have been premeditated, on the basis of evidence supplied by Turkey.

"Failure of any nation to adhere to worldwide norms and the rule of law undermines regional stability at a time when it is needed most", he added.

On Thursday, CIA Director Gina Haspel briefed Trump about her recent trip to Turkey, where she listened to purported audio of Khashoggi's killing.

Saudi officials initially denied having anything to do with Khashoggi's disappearance after he entered the consulate on October 2, before changing the official account to say an internal investigation suggested he was accidentally killed in a botched operation to return him to the kingdom.

Ms Cengiz said she had not received any condolence call from Saudi officials after the death of Khashoggi, who left Saudi Arabia for self-imposed exile in the U.S. a year ago. The Saudi news release, attributed to its public prosecutor, was significant because it relayed Turkey's conclusion, but it did not make clear whether Saudi investigators had reached that same conclusion on their own.

But he said that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had revoked the visas of Saudis suspected in the killing and that Trump had vowed "to get to the bottom of it" and get Congress involved.

Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel al Jubeir says Jamal Khashoggi case has sparked "media hysteria" and that investigations take time.

This comes as Saudi prosecutors said the Mr Khashoggi's death was a premeditated crime. His U.S. destination was not immediately known but his late father lived in the Washington area.

On the sidelines of a Syria summit in Istanbul, the two leaders had a "relaxed exchange", the Elysee palace said, and agreed not to announce their next positions on the issue without first coordinating "at the European level".

US Defence Secretary James Mattis on Saturday condemned the killing of Khashoggi as "intolerable" and called it a national security concern for nations in the Middle East.

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