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Jamal Khashoggi case: All the latest updates

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Sources tell Reuters audio of Saud al-Qahtani's Skype call in possession of Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Jamal Khashoggi

Saudi Arabia has admitted Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside its consulate in the Turkish city of Istanbul.

Khashoggi - a Saudi writer, US resident, and Washington Post columnist - entered the building on October 2 to obtain documentation certifying he had divorced his ex-wife. He never came out.

After weeks of repeated denials that it had anything to do with his disappearance, the kingdom has admitted Khashoggi, 59, died in a "fist-fight" inside the consulate.

Here are the latest developments:

Tuesday, October 23

Investigators 'search' Saudi consulate car

Turkish investigators have searched a Saudi consulate vehicle that was found in a car park in Istanbul's Sultangazi district on Monday, according to media reports.

"We understand that a a number of things have been found in the car, including a personal computer, some clothing and paperwork," Al Jazeera's Charles Stratford, reporting from the Turkish city, said on Tuesday.

"We understand that there is no confirmation as to whether any of these items belongs to Khashoggi," he added. "They [investigators] are saying that forensic analysis is needed before anything like that can be confirmed."

Broadcaster CNN Turk said the search of the vehicle park has been halted and will resume on Wednesday morning.

G7 on Khashoggi killing: Many questions unanswered

The foreign ministries of the Group of Seven (G7) countries have made a statement on Khashoggi's killing and the explanations offered by Saudi Arabia:

"We, the G7 Foreign Ministers, of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and the High Representative of the European Union, condemn in the strongest possible terms the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has confirmed took place in its consulate in Istanbul.

"The confirmation of Mr Jamal Khashoggi's death is a first step toward full transparency and accountability. However, the explanations offered leave many questions unanswered.

"We reiterate our expectation for a thorough, credible, transparent, and prompt investigation by Saudi Arabia, in full collaboration with the Turkish authorities, and a full and rigorous accounting of the circumstances surrounding Mr. Khashoggi's death. Those responsible for the killing must be held to account. Saudi Arabia must put in place measures to ensure something like this can never happen again.

"The circumstances of Mr. Khashoggi’s death reaffirm the need to protect journalists and freedom of expression around the world.

"We also extend our deepest condolences to Mr Khashoggi's family, his fiancee, and his friends."

No speech as MBS makes brief stop at investment forum

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) has briefly attended a high-profile economic forum in Riyadh that was boycotted by global business chiefs and politicians after Khashoggi's killing.

Many in the audience of over 2,000 clapped or cheered as the prince, the kingdom's de facto ruler, entered the main hall on Tuesday, smiling as he sat down next to Jordan's King Abdullah II.

The 33-year-old arrived at the forum late in the day after attending a meeting at which his father, King Salman, received members of Khashoggi's family, including the journalist's son Salah.

MBS said he was "satisfied" with the Future Investment Initiative as he toured the venue.

"Great, more people, more money," the crown prince told reporters.

He left shortly afterwards, without delivering a speech.

Saudi king, crown prince meet Khashoggi relatives

Saudi state media that King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met with members of Khashoggi's family in Riyadh.

The Saudi rulers met with the journalist's son, Salah, and Sahl, a relative, at the royal palace, state-run news agency SPA reported.

 

#صور | #خادم_الحرمين_الشريفين يستقبل سهل وصلاح خاشقجي.#واس pic.twitter.com/p3In2A5Lgx

— واس (@spagov) October 23, 2018

 

Body parts 'found' in search for Khashoggi

Body parts belonging to Jamal Khashoggi have been found, according to a report by Sky News.

The broadcaster said that "well-placed sources within the investigation and within political circles" revealed the 59-year-old was "cut up" and "disfigured" after being killed in Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

One source suggested remains were discovered in the garden of the Saudi consul general's house.

Sky's report came just hours after Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for more answers from Riyadh over Khashoggi's killing during an address to the Turkish parliament in Ankara.

Erdogan accuses Saudi officials of 'planned' assasination

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the "savage" killing of Saudi writer and critic Jamal Khashoggi inside Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul was "planned" days before his murder on October 2.

Addressing the Turkish parliament in Ankara, Erdogan raised several questions that he said still needed answering from officials in Riyadh but stopped short of accusing the kingdom's royals of playing any part in the assassination.

"The Saudi authorities have taken an important step confirming the killing and now we ask Saudi authorities to work hard to reveal the names of those involved, from the bottom to the top," Erdogan said.

"There are also questions in every mind; why did those 15 people gather in Istanbul on the day they committed the crime and … according to instructions given to them by whom? We need to know," he added.

Russia remains tight-lipped on Khashoggi case, Britain demands more answers

Russia has heard Saudi Arabia's denial of any connection between the royal family in Riyadh and the Khashoggi killing and will await further information from investigators, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said.

A spokesperson for British Prime Minister Theresa May, meanwhile, said questions remain outstanding over the killing of Khashoggi, which "only the Saudis have the answers to".

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said he was "deeply concerned" by Erdogan's description of the murder as "pre-meditated".

"The world is still waiting for answers," Hunt said on Twitter.

Lebanon leader backs Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi

In a statement released by his office, Lebanon's Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri said Saudi's response to the killing of Khashoggi inside the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul "serves the path of justice and the disclosure of the whole truth".

Hariri, who has struggled to form a cabinet after being elected for a third term as leader in May, is a long-term ally of Riyadh.

Turkey's Erdogan to divulge 'naked truth'

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will expose what he has said is the "naked truth" about Khashoggi's murder on Tuesday.

Turkish media have reported Khashoggi was killed and dismembered based on recordings from the consulate. They say he died at the hands of a 15-member assassination squad from Saudi Arabia.

Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said Turkish investigators have carried out a "sensitive and comprehensive" investigation.

"The issue is not between Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Turkey is taking necessary steps to unveil the incident under international and national law," Kalin said.

"The issue is to shed light on an atrocious murder. The stance of our president is very clear since the beginning. Nothing will remain hidden regarding this incident."

Abdulkadir Selvi, whose Hurriyet newspaper columns are closely watched for indications of Erdogan's thinking in Turkey, wrote Khashoggi was slowly strangled to death before a Saudi forensic specialist cut his body into 15 pieces while listening to music.

Al Jazeera's Zeina Khodr, reporting from Istanbul, said Erdogan's speech is expected at 08:45 GMT.

"Expectations are high, it's been seen as a turning point," she said.

"Since the disappearance of Khashoggi on Ocober 2, Erdogan really has been a diplomat, choosing his words carefully, not using strong language, not pointing the finger at anyone. But now it seems he wants to reveal details to the world."

Analysts say Erdogan has preferred to authorise the leak of incriminating information to pro-government media to put pressure on the kingdom.

He has twice held telephone talks with Saudi King Salman on the crisis, interpreted by some as sidelining the ageing monarch's powerful son Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Turkey willing to assist international probe - foreign minister

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Ankara is ready to cooperate with any investigation set up by the UN or another international body to examine the killing of Saudi writer and critic Jamal Khashoggi.

In a televised interview with Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency, Cavusoglu praised Saudi Arabia's admittance of Khashoggi's killing as "important" and said Riyadh was "more open to cooperation" with Ankara over the case concerning his death following a phone call between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Saudi's King Salman.

Turkey has not shared evidence on the case with any country but may have held meetings with foreign intelligence services, Cavusoglu added.

Mnuchin meets Saudi finance minister in Riyadh

Saudi Arabia's Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan met US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in the kingdom's capital, Riyadh, a statement from the ministry said.

On Sunday, Mnuchin said Saudi's explanation of the killing of Saudi writer and critic Jamal Khashoggi inside the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul was a "good first step but not enough".

Mnuchin, who is on a diplomatic tour of the Middle East, also said it was premature to discuss sanctions over the case.

Saudi foreign minister pledges 'comprehensive investigation'

Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister, Adel al-Jubeir, said the kingdom was committed to a "comprehensive investigation" into the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey.

READ MORE: Saudi: We don't know where Khashoggi's body is, killing a mistake

All those responsible for the journalist's death would be detained, the minister told a news conference in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta.

He added that the kingdom had sent a team to Turkey as part of its investigation and pledged that mechanisms will be put in place so that "something like this can never happen again".

Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and critic of the Saudi government, disappeared after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 to obtain documents for his marriage.

After repeated denials, Saudi Arabia admitted last week that the dissident journalist was killed in a "fist-fight" in the consulate, an explanation that drew scepticism from several Western governments.

Saudi investment conference begins despite boycotts

Saudi Arabia's Future Investment Initiative conference, widely dubbed "Davos in the desert", has kicked off in the kingdom's capital, Riyadh.

Several business leaders and high-profile political figures have boycotted the three-day event over the killing of Saudi writer and critic Jamal Khashoggi inside Saudi's Istanbul consulate on October 2.

On Tuesday, US newspaper The Wall Street Journal reported that SoftBank Group Corp Chief Executive Masayoshi Son cancelled a speaking engagement at the conference, citing a spokesperson for the event.

Saudi Arabia's powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is under intense scrutiny over the killing, is expected to attend, however. The event is aimed at attracting foreign investment to the kingdom, which is largely dependent on oil revenues.

Donald Trump says murder was a 'plot gone awry'

In an interview with USA Today, US President Donald Trump said he believed Khashoggi's death was "a plot gone awry".

He called Khashoggi's killing "foolish and stupid".

Trump said he had talked on the phone with both Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and more details about what happened would be known within a day or two.

"He says he is not involved nor is the king," Trump said of the powerful crown prince, declining to answer whether he believed his denials.

Trump said he would be "very upset" if it was proven that the Saudi leader was involved.

Earlier the American president told reporters at the White House he's "not satisfied with what I've heard" from the Saudis.

Trump's comments have varied from playing down Riyadh's role to warning of possible economic sanctions. He has repeatedly highlighted the kingdom's importance as a US ally, and said bin Salman was a strong and passionate leader.

The US president indicated he would oppose efforts to cease arms sales to the kingdom in response to the murder. There are "many other" potential penalties, he told the newspaper.

CIA chief travels to Turkey for Khashoggi case

Gina Haspel, director of the US Central Intelligence Agency, is flying to Turkey to work on the probe into Khashoggi's killing, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters news agency.

US President Donald Trump said earlier he has "top intelligence people in Turkey", without elaborating.

"I have a great group of people in Turkey right now and a great group of people in Saudi Arabia. We will know very soon what happened to Khashoggi," Trump said.

The CIA declined to comment on Haspel's reported travel when asked about it by Anadolu news agency.

Her visit comes as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan prepares to announce the initial findings of Ankara's investigation on Tuesday.

Exactly three weeks after Khashoggi disappeared, US and European security agencies still have an incomplete picture of what happened at the Saudi consulate.

Six US and Western officials told Reuters they believed Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) was ultimately responsible for Khashoggi's disappearance because of his role overseeing the Saudi security apparatus - but they lacked hard proof.

"Difficult to say MBS did not know about this," a Western security source said. 

Saudi investment conference to kick off amid boycott

Saudi Arabia's prominent investment conference dubbed Davos in the Desert is set to kick off in the capital Riyadh, though it's been overshadowed by Khashoggi's killing.

In recent days the Future Investment Initiative has seen major pull-outs from top global CEOs and finance officials.

The summit is scheduled to begin at 8am (05:00 GMT) and Saudi Arabia's powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is expected to attend. It is aimed at weaning the kingdom off oil revenues and fostering an economy powered by private investments.       

Among the A-list executives who have withdrawn are JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon, HSBC CEO John Flint, Blackrock CEO Larry Fink, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, and the head of German industrial giant Siemens, Joe Kaeser.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and International Monetary Fund head Christine Lagarde are also skipping the event.

At last year's conference, Saudi Arabia unveiled plans to build a new $500bn dollar investment city, called Neom, located on the kingdom's northwestern coast by the Red Sea.

Total's chief executive said he would attend despite rising pressure on business leaders to drop out.

"I am convinced that an 'empty chairs at the table' strategy serves no useful purpose, especially when it comes to respect for human rights," Total's CEO Patrick Pouyanne said in a statement.

The French oil major's decision comes despite President Emmanuel Macron's decision last week to pull his finance minister out of the conference.

Another French energy company, state-owned EDF, said its CEO would not attend.

Monday, October 22

CIA chief 'travels to Turkey' for Khashoggi case

Gina Haspel, director of the United States' Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is heading to Turkey on Monday to work on the probe into Khashoggi's killing, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters news agency.

US President Donald Trump said earlier on Monday he has "top intelligence people in Turkey", without elaborating.

Report: Saud al-Qahtani 'ran Khashoggi killing via Skype'

Reuters news agency has reported that Saud al-Qahtani, a former royal court media adviser and top aide to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, orchestrated Khashoggi's killing at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul after being beamed into a room of the building via Skype.

Al-Qahtani was fired on Saturday during Riyadh's efforts to contain the fallout over Khashoggi's killing.

In its report, Reuters cited two unnamed Arab and Turkish intelligence sources. According to one of them, a high-ranking Arab source with access to intelligence and links to members of Saudi Arabia's royal court, Qahtani began to hurl insults at Khashoggi over the phone, Reuters reported.

Khashoggi answered Qahtani's insults with his own, the sources told Reuters. But he was no match for a 15-man hit team, which included top security and intelligence operatives, some with direct links to the royal court, Reuters said.

A Turkish intelligence source relayed that at one point Qahtani told his men to dispose of Khashoggi. "Bring me the head of the dog", the Turkish intelligence source told Reuters that Qahtani instructed.

It is not clear if Qahtani watched the entire proceedings, which the high-ranking Arab source described as a "bungled and botched operation".

The Reuters report came as a Turkish source said that the Saudi death-squad filmed the killing and dismembering of Khashoggi in full.

The Arab source and the Turkish intelligence source told Reuters the audio of the Skype call is now in the possession of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, who is refusing to release it to the United States.

Erdogan said on Sunday he would release information about the Turkish investigation on Tuesday.

Al-Qahtani's ties to the crown prince are widely known - he once said he would never do anything without the approval of his boss.

"Do you think I make decisions without guidance? I am an employee and a faithful executor of the orders of my lord the king and my lord the faithful crown prince," Qahtani wrote on Twitter last summer.

Meanwhile, al-Qahtani has changed his job status on Twitter, now describing himself as chairman of the board of directors of the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming and Drones.

He said the federation is a sports union which is non-governmental and works under the umbrella of the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee.

Previously, he identified himself as an adviser at the Saudi royal court with the rank of minister, and supervisor of media studies and affairs.

Trump says US intelligence officers in Turkey as Mnuchin meets MBS

President Donald Trump has said the United States has "people in Saudi Arabia" and "top intelligence" officers in Turkey, as he repeated that he was "not satisfied" with what he has heard from Riyadh about Khashoggi's killing.

"We're going to see what we have," he told reporters at the White House on Monday. "I'll know a lot tomorrow, they will be coming back either tonight or tomorrow morning."

Trump said there is " no reason" for a one-month delay into Saudi Arabia's investigation into the killing of the Washington Post columnist.

"That's a long time," he said, adding that he had spoken to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS).

Trump also repeated that he did not want to lose investment from the kingdom.

Meanwhile, Saudi state TV said that MBS held a meeting with US Treasury Steven Mnuchin in Riyadh. The US official said on Sunday he would not attend a major investment conference to be hosted in Riyadh this week, and that his visit was to hold talks on joint efforts toward countering terrorist financing and curbing Iran’s military and political influence.

The Saudi crown prince and Mnuchin "stressed the importance of strategic partnership and the future role of this partnership through Vision 2030", the Saudi TV said on Twitter, referring to the kingdom's long-term development plan.

Bolton: 'We want to get the truth, and not just talk'

John Bolton, the US national security adviser, has said Washington wants to know all the details surrounding Khashoggi's killing, adding that discussions with Saudi authorities on the case are ongoing.

"We want to get the truth, and not just talk," Bolton, who is on a visit to Moscow, was quoted as saying on Monday by Russian radio station Ekho Moskvy.

"First of all, we need to know why he died. Who killed him?. We want to get the full lowdown on this process."

Report: French judge to probe complaint against MBS over alleged Yemen abuses

A report by French publication L'Express has said that a judge in Paris will investigate a legal complaint against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over possible human rights abuses in Yemen.

The complaint was filed by two Parisian lawyers, Joseph Breham and Hakim Chergui, on behalf of Mohamed Husein Taha, the representative of Yemeni NGO The Legal Center for Rights and Development, L'Express reported on Monday.

It was submitted in April during the crown prince's visit to the French capital.

L'Express said the allegations against MBS include "complicity in torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment [of Yemenis]".

Saudi Arabia has been bombing Yemen since March 2015 after the Houthi rebels swept across the country and toppled the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

Campaigners have accused MBS, who also serves as defence minister, of being the "chief architect" of the Yemen war, which has led to what the UN has described as the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

'Abandoned Saudi consulate car' found in Istanbul

Turkish police have found an abandoned car belonging to the Saudi consulate at an underground car park in Istanbul, three weeks after Khashoggi's killing at the kingdom's mission in the city.

The car, which had diplomatic number plates, was found in an underground car park in the city's Sultangazi district, according to the state-run Anadolu news agency and TRT World channel.

Registration documents showed that the vehicle belonged to the consulate, they added. Police have asked prosecutors and the Saudi consulate for permission to search the vehicle.

Police cordoned off access to the car park, where large numbers of media gathered, an AFP news agency photographer said.

Turkey ramps up language about Khashoggi killing

Turkey's ruling party has said Khashoggi's killing "was planned in an extremely savage manner", in the first official indication that Ankara believes a murder plan was coordinated in advance.

"We are being careful so nobody tries to cover the issue up. The truth will come out. Those responsible will be punished, something like this will not cross anybody's mind any more," said Omer Celik, spokesperson for the Justice and Development Party (AK Party).

Celik was referring to surveillance footage aired by CNN showing a man dressed as Khashoggi walking around Istanbul after he vanished in an apparent attempt at deception.

Yasin Aktay, one of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's advisers, meanwhile wrote in the Yeni Safak daily that the Saudi version given so far "feels like our intelligence is being mocked".

Erdogan has said he will release information about Turkey's investigation in a speech on Tuesday.

Saudi conference site seemingly hacked

The website of the Saudi investment conference set to open in Riyadh this week appears to have been hacked.

The Future Investment Initiative, hosted by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and nicknamed "Davos in the Desert", was intended to showcase the kingdom's economic reforms, but several big-name investors and companies have withdrawn in the outcry over the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The website's homepage displayed the message "404 Not Found" on Monday.

Twitter users meanwhile posted screen grabs of the conference's homepage showing the crown prince standing over a kneeling Khashoggi with a flaming sword. 

READ MORE: Jamal Khashoggi killing - Is Saudi Arabia too toxic for investors?

Four phone calls made to Mohammed bin Salman's office from the Saudi consulate the day Khashoggi was killed

Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, a well-known travel companion of Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, also known as MBS, made four phone calls to the royal's office from the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul the day Khashoggi was killed there, a Turkish newspaper has reported.

Yeni Safak reported on Monday that Mutreb, who was a member of bin Salman's entourage on trips to the United States, France and Spain earlier this year, made four calls to Bader al-Asaker, the head of bin Salman's office.

It said another call went to the US.

Saudis 'brought Khashoggi body double'

Newly leaked surveillance footage appears to show a man walking around Istanbul wearing Khashoggi's clothes after his murder.

CNN aired the footage on Monday, citing a Turkish official as describing the man as a "body double" and a member of a 15-man Saudi team sent to Istanbul to target the writer. He was identified as Mustafa al-Madani.

CNN says the man walked out of the consulate via its back exit with an accomplice, then took a taxi to Istanbul's famed Sultan Ahmed Mosque, where he went into a public toilet, changed back out of the clothes and left.

Khashoggi criticised crown prince for Israel rapprochement 

In a previously unheard interview with London-based outlet The New Arab (Arabic), Khashoggi is heard criticising bin Salman's increasingly warm ties with Israel.

Khashoggi said Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas would not succumb to the prince's pressure to accept a peace plan by the Trump administration because of the popular anger he would face.

In the interview, which took place in February this year, the Washington Post columnist said: 

"Abu Mazen (Abbas) told (Mohammed bin Salman) 'hey brother, I cannot do this. My people will eat me alive'.

"Abu Mazen knows the reality on the ground, he knows his people, his situation is bad when it comes to his administration."

He also dismissed suggestions that Saudi Arabia before 1979 was a better-run state than it is now.

"Saudi was not a liberal state before 1979. It was a religious extremist state," Khashoggi said.

The Saudi crown prince has promised to reduce the influence of religious leaders in the country, which he says increased after the Iranian Revolution in 1979.

Crown prince's bodyguard 'took part of Khashoggi's body'

Turkish officials believe that part of Khashoggi's body was taken out of Turkey by a well-known travel companion of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's bodyguards, according to a report by the Middle East Eye.

Maher Abdulaziz Mutrib is reported to have been seen carrying a large bag, which was not checked as he bypassed security checks through a VIP lounge at Istanbul's Ataturk airport.   

Turkish consulate employees give statements

Five Turkish employees of the Saudi consulate in Istanbul are giving statements as witnesses in the investigation into the killing of Saudi journalist Khashoggi, Turkish broadcaster NTV said on Monday.

Last week, 20 consulate workers gave statements to prosecutors in relation to the incident, NTV had reported previously.

Canada could scrap Saudi arms deal

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in an interview broadcast Sunday that Canada could cancel a multibillion-dollar defence contract with Saudi Arabia following the death of Khashoggi.

Trudeau, speaking on French-language talk show, Tout Le Monde En Parle - recorded Thursday before Riyadh confirmed Khashoggi's death at its Istanbul consulate - insisted Canada would "always defend human rights, including with Saudi Arabia".

Canadian regulations for the sale of military equipment include restrictions related to human rights violations and stipulations that military hardware cannot be used against civilians.

Asked about a key deal with Riyadh for the sale of light armoured vehicles worth CAD15bn ($11.4bn), Trudeau said: "in this contract, there are clauses that must be followed in relation to the use of what is sold to them."

"If they do not follow these clauses, we will definitely cancel the contract."

Relations between Canada and Saudi Arabia have been tense in recent months.

After Canada criticised the Saudi arrest of human rights activists, the kingdom retaliated by expelling the Canadian ambassador, recalling its own envoy to Ottawa and freezing trade and investment between the two countries.

On Sunday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said her country would not export arms to Saudi Arabia amid the uncertainty around Khashoggi's death.

Indonesian president calls for 'transparent' probe

Indonesian President Joko Widodo called for a "transparent and thorough" investigation into the death of journalist Khashoggi at a meeting on Monday with Saudi Arabia's foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir.

WSJ: 'Why the outrage?' Saudi crown prince asked

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the Saudi crown prince called presidential adviser and Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner on October 10, eight days after Khashoggi went missing.

"Why the outrage?" the prince asked in English, according to people briefed on the conversation, the WSJ said.

Erdogan and Trump discuss Khashoggi case on the phone

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US President Donald Trump spoke on the telephone to discuss Khashoggi's disappearance, the Turkish state-owned Anadolu agency said on Monday morning.

"Erdogan and Trump agreed the Khashoggi case needs to be cleared up with all aspects", Anadolu said.

Saudi king, crown prince call Khashoggi's son to express condolences

Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman both called Khashoggi's son, Salah, to express their condolences, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Saudi Arabia has said Khashoggi, 59, died in a fight inside its Istanbul consulate - after two weeks of denials that it had anything to do with his disappearance.

Khashoggi's son thanked the king and the crown prince, the report said.

Foreign Minister al-Jubeir also extended his condolences to Khashoggi's family.

"This is a terrible mistake. This is a terrible tragedy. Our condolences go out to them. We feel their pain," al-Jubeir told US broadcaster, Fox.

"Unfortunately, a huge and grave mistake was made and I assure them that those responsible will be held accountable for this."

Some observers have speculated the powerful crown prince ordered the killing of Khashoggi - who had criticised bin Salman - but the Saudi leadership has denied any involvement.

Erdogan, Trump agree all aspects of Khashoggi case need to be cleared up

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US President Donald Trump spoke on the telephone to discuss Khashoggi's killing, Anadolu news agency reported.

"Erdogan and Trump agreed the Khashoggi case needs to be cleared up with all aspects," it said.

Anadolu added the two leaders also discussed American pastor Andrew Brunson, cooperation in the fight against terrorism and the roadmap on Syria's Manbij.

US treasury secretary's Saudi trip back on

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin defended his decision to visit Saudi Arabia later this month despite the continuing turmoil following Khashoggi's killing.

Last week, Mnuchin announced he would not attend a major economic conference in Riyadh after talks with President Trump about the assassination.

But speaking during a stop in Jerusalem, Mnuchin said the US's strategic and economic relationship with the Saudis was too important to be put in jeopardy over Khashoggi's murder.

"We have an important relationship with Saudi, focused on combating terrorist financing and focused on our common interests of stopping Iran's spread of both terrorism and other issues," Mnuchin was quoted as saying by The New York Times. 

"I am going to go there and meet with my counterparts and continue to focus on what's in the treasury's domain, as it relates to this issue."

The three-day Future Investment Initiative, dubbed "Davos in the desert", begins on Tuesday in Saudi Arabia. Many corporate heavyweights and prominent politicians have pulled out over Khashoggi's murder. 

Still, organisers said 120 speakers will participate, down from 150. 

Sunday, October 21

Saudi foreign minister defends kingdom's narrative of Khashoggi killing

Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister has defended the kingdom's narrative of the killing of Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, saying it was comparable to the US government's response following a 2004 expose on the use of torture at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

Adel Al-Jubeir told FOX News that the reason it took the kingdom 18 days to confirm Khashoggi's killing was because Saudi authorities didn't "want to put out speculation or hearsay or gossip".

"When you have a situation like this, you want the information you put out to be as accurate as possible. You don't want to put out speculation or hearsay or gossip. These things take time. You may want to look back at the issue of Abu Ghraib and the timeline between when the incidents were discovered and when the US government came out with its initial report of what happened. These things take time and you want to be careful."

When asked if MBS was aware of Khashoggi's killing, Jubeir hit out saying: "the individuals, who did this, do so out of the scope of their authority. There was a tremendous mistake made and what compounded the mistake was the attempt to cover it up."

He then added: "The people involved weren't tied to him. There were pictures of some security officers who may have been part of his security detail from time to time but this is normal. People who deal in security details rotate among different officials both domestic and foreign, so having somebody in a picture does not imply they are close - not at all - the Crown Prince has denied this. Even the senior leadership of our intelligence service was not aware of this.

"This was a rogue operation. This was an operation where individuals ended up exceeding the authorities and responsibilities they had, and they made a mistake by killing Jamal Khashoggi in the consulate and they tried to cover-up for it."

When asked whether Khashoggi's body was dismembered, Jubeir said the kingdom was "working" on finding this out with its Turkish counterparts.

UK, France and Germany issue joint statement condemning Khashoggi's killing

The UK, France and Germany have issued a joint statement condemning the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, saying there was an "urgent need for clarification of exactly what happened."

In a statement issued on Sunday, the governments said "nothing can justify this killing and we condemn it in the strongest possible terms. "

They said the "hypotheses" proposed so far in the Saudi investigation need to be backed by facts to be considered credible.

Erdogan: Turkey will reveal 'naked truth' over Khashoggi death on Tuesday

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he reveal the "naked truth" over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi on Tuesday.

"We are looking for justice here and this will be revealed in all its naked truth, not through some ordinary steps but in all its naked truth," Erdogan told a rally in Istanbul.

Leading US senator accuses Mohammed bin Salman of Khashoggi murder

Bob Corker, a Republican senator and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee says Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, also known as MBS, "crossed a line" in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Corker told CNN's "State of the Union" that Saudi Arabia had "lost all credibility as it relates to explaining what has happened," and that based on his briefings he believed MBS directed the killing of the Washington Post columnist.

"I'm not rushing to judgement - do I think he [MBS] did it [kill Khashoggi] - Yes, I think he did it," Corker told CNN's Jake Tapper.

"The United States and the rest of the world will believe he did it."

In the interview, Corker also criticised MBS's supposed anti-corruption drive when more than 200 powerful Saudis were arrested last November, and the blockade placed on Saudi Arabia's Gulf neighbour Qatar.

"When you look [at] what he did when he came to power, he got the opposition in the Ritz Carlton. Detained them there. Tortured many of them.

"And if you look at the rookie mistake he made with Qatar, where without even talking to us they put in place this blockade. He has made some mistakes and obviously if he had gone forth and murdered this journalist, he's now crossed the line, and there needs to be a punishment and a price payed for that."

Trump accuses Saudi Arabia of 'lies' over Khashoggi killing

US President Donald Trump has accused Saudi Arabia of lying about the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, in his strongest comments to date.

"Obviously there's been deception and there's been lies," he said in an interview with the Washington Post published late on Saturday.

"Their stories are all over the place," Trump added.

But the US President stopped far short of blaming Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, also known as MBS, of the murder saying he has yet to be shown any evidence by intelligence officials that would make him believe MBS had any direct role.

"Nobody has told me he's responsible. Nobody has told me he's not responsible. We haven't reached that point. I haven't heard either way," Trump said.

Pakistan welcomes contacts between Saudi King and Erdogan

Pakistan's Foreign Office has said it welcomes the contacts between Saudi Arabia's King Salman and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and their desire to continue to work together to address the Jamal Khashoggi issue.

"We welcome the steps taken by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Turkey to address this issue. Disclosing facts to the public and bringing those responsible to justice is important in this regard," it said.

Saudi official gives new version of Khashoggi killing

A Saudi official has told the Reuters news agency that the team of 15 Saudis who were sent to confront Khashoggi on October 2 killed him in a chokehold after "overstepping" their orders.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official said the team tried to intimidate Khashoggi but when the 59-year-old raised his voice, the team panicked.

They then tried to restrain him and placed him in a chokehold and covered his mouth.

Asked if the team had smothered Khashoggi, the official said: "If you put someone of Jamal's age in this position, he would probably die."

A member of the 15-man-team then dressed in Khashoggi's clothes to make it appear as if he had left the consulate, the official added.

UK add voice to states casting doubt on Saudi narrative

Britain says Saudi Arabia's explanation for how Jamal Khashoggi died inside Riyadh's consulate in Istanbul is not credible.

"No, I don't think it is credible," said Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, adding: "We support the Turkish investigation into it and the British government will want to see people held to account for that death."

The UK joins a growing list of countries to pour cold water on Saudi Arabia's latest official attempt to explain the Washington Post columnist's disappearance.

Canada has also cast doubt and German leader Angela Merkel has called the official Saudi explanation "inadequate".

WSJ: King Salman's emissary heard Khashoggi recording 

A report in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) citing two unnamed members of the Saudi royal family says a Saudi emissary sent to Ankara by King Salman heard an audio recording that dispels the official Saudi explanation that Khashoggi was killed in a brawl.

Prince Khalid al-Faisal allegedly had access to evidence that the journalist was "drugged, killed, and dismembered" shortly after entering the consulate, the report says.

"The audio does not have this nonsense about a fight that broke out after an argument," one royal told the WSJ.

This account also contradicts the story offered in the previous post, in which an unnamed Saudi official told Reuters that Khashoggi's body had not been cut up.

Reuters: Saudi official floats new story about Khashoggi death

As Saudi Arabia faced intensifying international scepticism over its story about the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a senior government official laid out a new version of the death inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul that in key respects contradicts previous explanations.

The latest account, provided by a Saudi official who requested anonymity, includes details on how the team of 15 Saudi nationals sent to confront Khashoggi on October 2 had threatened him with being drugged and kidnapped and then killed him in a chokehold when he resisted.

A member of the team then dressed in Khashoggi's clothes to make it appear as if he had left the consulate.

Turkish officials suspect the body of Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was cut up but the Saudi official said it was rolled up in a rug and given to a "local cooperator" for disposal. Asked about allegations that Khashoggi had been tortured and beheaded, he said preliminary results of the investigation did not suggest that.

The official presented what he said were internal intelligence documents which appeared to show the initiative to bring back dissidents as well as the specific one involving Khashoggi. He also showed testimony from those involved in what he described as the 15-man team's cover-up, and the initial results of an internal probe.

Canada condemns Khashoggi killing, questions Saudi narrative

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freedland has condemned the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi and offered her "sincere condolences" to his fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, and his family.

"The explanations offered (by Saudi Arabia) to date lack consistency and credibility," she said in a statement, further calling for a "through investigation".

"Those responsible for the killing must be held to account and must face justice," Freedland added.

Saturday, October 20

Washington Post: This is not an explanation; it is a cover-up

The Washington Post has refused to accept Saudi Arabia's explanation for the killing of Khashoggi, who was one of the paper's columnists, accusing the kingdom of lying and carrying out a cover-up.

"The government of Saudi Arabia has shamefully and repeatedly offered one lie after another in the nearly three weeks since Jamal Khashoggi disappeared in their Istanbul consulate," Fred Ryan, the newspaper's publisher and chief executive, said in a statement.

"Offering no proof and contrary to all available evidence, they now expect the world to believe that Jamal died in a fight following a discussion. This is not an explanation; it is a cover-up.

"President Trump, Congress and leaders of the civilised world should demand to see verifiable evidence. The Saudis cannot be allowed to fabricate a face-saving solution to an atrocity that appears to have been directed by the highest levels of their government."

Trump 'not satisified' with Khashoggi case handling 

US President Donald Trump has said questions remain unanswered over Khashoggi's killing following Saudi Arabia's admission that the journalist died in a "fist-fight" inside its consulate. 

Asked during a trip to Nevada if he was satisfied that Saudi officials had been fired over Khashoggi's death, Trump said: "No, I am not satisfied until we find the answer. But it was a big first step; it was a good first step. But I want to get answers."

But Trump warned against halting a Saudi arms deal, saying it would hurt American jobs, despite the international furor over the death in the conservative kingdom's Istanbul consulate of a dissident journalist.

"We have $450bn, $110bn of which is a military order, but this is equipment and various things ordered from Saudi Arabia," Trump told reporters about an agreement to sell weapons to Riyadh.

"It's over a million jobs; that's not helpful for us to cancel an order like that. That hurts us far more than it hurts them," he added, noting Riyadh could obtain the weapons from other countries like China or Russia.

"But there are other things that could be done, including sanctions."

Riyadh has been a key ally of the US for decades and only grew closer under the Trump administration.

Trump has pointed to a "$450bn" arms deal with Saudi Arabia and the kingdom's position as a bulwark to Iranian expansion in the region as reasons to continue close relations.

It is unclear from where Trump drew the $450bn figure. The US and Saudi Arabia announced a $350bn arms deal before Trump's first trip to Saudi Arabia as president. Roughly $110bn of that deal, which is set to extend over 10 years, was effective immediately, according to CNBC.

On Friday, Trump had said he believed Saudi Arabia's explanation was credible. 

Riyadh uses twitter trolls to silence critics: NY Times 

A New York Times report on Saturday said Saudi authorities were making use of an "army of Twitter trolls" to silence critics, including Khashoggi.

In its report, titled Saudis "Image Makers: A Troll Army and a Twitter Insider", the daily claimed that authorities in Riyadh were conducting operations on Twitter to silence voices critical of the Saudi leadership and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in particular.

The report is based on interviews with seven people involved in those activities or "briefed on them; activists and experts who have studied them; and American and Saudi officials, along with messages seen by The New York Times that described the inner workings of the troll farm".

Under the directive of the crown prince, "Saudi operatives have mobilized to harass critics on Twitter", which became especially popular since the Arab Spring uprisings in 2010.

"Saud al-Qahtani, a top adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed who was fired on Saturday in the fallout from Mr. Khashoggi's killing, was the strategist behind the operation, according to United States and Saudi officials, as well as activist organisations," the report said.

France's Le Drian condemns Khashoggi's killing, calls for in-depth probe

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said his country condemned the killing of Khashoggi and called for a thorough investigation into the incident. 

"France condemns this murder in the strongest terms," Le Drian said in a statement. 

"The confirmation of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi's death is a first step toward the establishment of the truth. However, many questions remain unanswered," he added. 

Le Drian added that those responsible for Khashoggi's death should be held accountable. 

Merkel condemns Khashoggi's killing

German Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned Khashoggi's killing in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and said explanations given so far of the circumstances surrounding his death were inadequate.

"We condemn this act in the strongest terms," she and Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said in a joint statement.

"We expect transparency from Saudi Arabia about the circumstances of his death [...] The information available about events in the Istanbul consulate is inadequate."

Expressing deep sympathy to Khashoggi's friends and relatives, they said those responsible for his death must be held accountable.

Turkey will not accept 'cover-up' in Khashoggi case - AK Party spokesperson

Turkey will uncover the full details of Khashoggi's killing using all possible means, a spokesperson for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) said.

"Turkey will reveal whatever happened. Nobody should ever doubt it," spokesperson Omer Celik was quoted as saying by Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency.

"We are not accusing anyone in advance but we don't accept anything remaining covered [up]," Celik added.

Turkish-Arab Media Association demands answers over Khashoggi killing

Turkish-Arab Media Association President Turan Kislakci said the group wants "true justice" for Khashoggi and the "authority that gave the orders" to kill the Saudi dissident punished.

"We need to know where Jamal's body is […] and we want the rest of the world to know how it happened and what happened exactly," Kislakci said in a statement to reporters outside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Amnesty demands Saudi Arabia hand over Khashoggi's body for independent autopsy

Amnesty International has called for an independent probe into Khashoggi's killing and demanded Saudi Arabia "immediately produce" his body so an autopsy can be performed by forensic experts "in accordance with international standards".

"The investigation findings by the Saudi authorities claiming that Khashoggi died as a result of a "fist-fight" inside the consulate are not trustworthy and marks an abysmal new low to Saudi Arabia's human rights record," Samah Hadid, Amnesty's director of campaigns for the Middle East, said in a statement.

"His family and the world deserve the full truth about what happened to him, and those responsible, however high their rank or status, must face justice," Hadid added.

"An independent investigation will be the only guarantee against what increasingly appears as a Saudi whitewash surrounding the circumstances of Khashoggi's murder or any attempts by other governments to sweep the issue under the carpet to preserve lucrative arms deals and other business ties with Riyadh."

European leaders heap skepticism on Saudi account of Khashoggi killing, call for clarity

European leaders have demanded further examination of Khashoggi's killing after Saudi Arabia's confession on Saturday that the 59-year-old writer and critic died during a "fist-fight" in the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel rejected Saudi's explanation of Khashoggi's death.

Merkel said the "horrific events" had not been "cleared up", Bloomberg reported.

"Of course we demand that they be cleared up," Merkel added.

Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen also expressed scepticism over the Saudi's account of Khashoggi's death.

"The fact that the Saudis last night confirmed that he died, after previously insisting he left the consulate alive, shows that we haven't been told the full truth, and we must insist on getting that," Bloomberg quoted Rasmussen as saying.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said "a lot still remains uncertain" in the case.

"A lot still remains uncertain. What happened? How did he die? Who is responsible? I expect and I hope that all relevant facts will be clear as soon as possible … Thorough investigation is necessary," Rutte told reporters in Denmark's capital, Copenhagen.

European Parliament President Antonio Tajani, meanwhile, called for an international investigation to examine the evidence linked to Khashoggi's death.

"[A] rigorous, international investigation [is] urgently needed to examine evidence, clarify circumstances surrounding death of Jamal Khashoggi," Tajani said in a post on Twitter.

Regional allies praise Saudi's response to ongoing Khashoggi probe

Saudi Arabia's allies in the Middle East rallied behind the kingdom over its response to the ongoing investigation into the killing of Saudi writer and critic Khashoggi.

Egypt praised Saudi's King Salman for taking "decisive" action over the killing of dissident Saudi journalist Khashoggi.

On Saturday, Saudi state media reported that King Salman had ordered the formation of a ministerial committee, headed by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, to restructure the Kingdom's intelligence services.

"Egypt sees that the brave and decisive decisions and actions taken by the Saudi King over this matter align with his majesty's approach that respects the principles of law and applications of effective justice," the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

READ MORE: How the Saudi narrative of Khashoggi's killing changed in 18 days

The ministry offered its condolences to Khashoggi's family and said it was confident the ongoing probe into his death would reveal the truth.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) also voiced support for Saudi's King Salman and commended his "directives and decisions … on the issue of Kashoggi", UAE's state-run WAM news agency reported.

Bahrain, meanwhile, said in an official statement that Saudi Arabia "will remain a state of justice, value and principles", the Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV network reported.

Saudi pressured into releasing initial results - AK Party's human rights head

Saudi Arabia had no choice but to reveal preliminary results from an investigation into Khashoggi's disappearance and alleged murder because of evidence gathered by Turkish officials, the head of human rights for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) said in a statement.

Further evidence will be released soon, Layla Sahin Usta said, as a Turkish-led probe into the 59-year-old's fate remains ongoing against a backdrop of widespread skepticism over Saudi's version of events.

On Saturday, Saudi state media reported Khashoggi was killed in a "fist-fight" with the Kingdom's officials inside its consulate in the Turkish city of Istanbul.

The announcement marked a U-turn from the Kingdom, which had previously denied the 60-year-old died inside the building.

Britain considering 'next steps' following Saudi Arabia confession over Khashoggi killing

Britain is considering its "next steps" following Saudi Arabia's admission over the killing of Khashoggi within the Kingdom's consulate in Istanbul, the UK's foreign ministry said in a statement.

"We send our condolences to Jamal Khashoggi's family after this confirmation of his death. We are considering the Saudi report and our next steps," the statement said.

"As the Foreign Secretary has said, this was a terrible act and those responsible must be held to account," the statement added.

The UK's main opposition Labour party has called on the governing Conservative Party to suspend arms sales to the kingdom.

Khashoggi case 'most serious' diplomatic crisis faced by Saudi since 9/11 - analyst

Marwan Kabalan, director of policy and analysis at the Doha-based Arab Center for Research & Policy Studies, said the uproar sparked by the killing of Khashoggi has posed the "most serious diplomatic crisis for Saudi Arabia since September 11 [2001]".

"The [Saudi's] story will not be convincing to many people; it's very difficult to believe the hit squad that arrived in Istanbul came to have a discussion with Khashoggi," Kabalan said.

"I think with the help of their friends in Washington - I'm talking about President Donald Trump, who is trying to provide them with an exit and way out - they may think that they are close to closing this case," he added.

"But I don't think so because it very much depends on whether the Turks are going to accept this [Saudi] story. The Turks [may] have their own version of what happened in the consulate."

Former CIA intelligence officer: Saudi account is 'foolish'

Former CIA intelligence officer Glenn Carle said the "absurdity of the crumbling cover stories" would bring a smile to the face of anyone paying attention.

The newest account, in which Khashoggi died during a fight with consulate officials, was right to draw ire, Carle said.

"As though a 59 or 60-year-old man would walk into a consulate … and pick a fight with 15 thugs. I don't think so. So the story is foolish."

Carle said Trump's statements affirming that he believes the Saudi account of what happened were "stupid and offensive" but "characteristic".

"Trump has clearly been accepting whatever the Saudis say "in order to maintain relations", Carle concluded.

World reacts to Saudi confirmation of Khashoggi's killing

Here's how the world reacted to Saudi Arabia's announcement confirming Jamal Khashoggi was killed in its consulate in Istanbul.

Who is Ahmed al-Asiri, the sacked Saudi intelligence chief?

Major General Ahmed Al-Asiri was sacked as Saudi Arabia's deputy intelligence chief on Friday, Saudi state media reported.

Al-Asiri has served as an adviser to bin Salman, who promoted him to his intelligence position last year, and is considered to be one of MBS' closest aides.

Saudi Arabia pays UK firms millions to boost image: Guardian

Saudi Arabia has been paying UK firms millions of pounds to help improve the kingdom's image in recent years, a Guardian investigation found on Friday.

Saudi Arabia's reputation has been hit hard in recent years due to its record on human rights and its role in the war in Yemen, but especially following the killing of Washington Post journalist Khashoggi.

Firms that have worked to boost Saudi Arabia's image include PR agency Freud's - which is now distancing itself from the kingdom; the London office of online publisher Vice which has been working on a series of films to promote Saudi Arabia; the Independent, which established a partnership with a Saudi publisher with close links to the Saudi government; and the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change.

A Saudi publishing company that is signing partnerships with western media firms donated to the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change in exchange for his advice for Saudi Arabia, the Guardian reported.

Trump wants to protect arms sale to Saudi Arabia 

US President Donald Trump says he'd prefer "some form of sanction" on Saudi Arabia after Khashoggi's death, but added that he wants to protect arms sale. 

Trump says he doesn't think Saudi leadership lied to him

US President Donald Trump told reporters that he doesn't think the Saudi leadership lied to him when they denied Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul. 

Trump said he will speak to the Saudi crown prince. 

Trump: Saudi announcement on Khashoggi 'good first step' 

US President Donald Trump said Saudi Arabia's announcement on Saturday confirming Jamal Khashoggi's death is a "good first step, a big step". 

Trump said what happened to Khashoggi is "unacceptable", adding however, that he thinks Saudi Arabia's explanation was credible.  

MBS had no knowledge of 'specific' Khashoggi operation: Reuters source

Saudi Arabia's crown prince had no knowledge of the specific operation that resulted in the death of Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul, a Saudi official familiar with the investigation told Reuters on Friday.

"There were no orders for them to kill him or even specifically kidnap him," said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity and adding that there was a standing order to bring critics of the kingdom back to the country.

"MBS had no knowledge of this specific operation and certainly did not order a kidnapping or murder of anybody. He will have been aware of the general instruction to tell people to come back," the source said, using the initials of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The source said the whereabouts of Khashoggi's body were unclear after it was handed over to a "local cooperator" but there was no sign of it at the consulate.

US congressman: Saudi explanation 'not credible'

A high-ranking Democratic US congressman is expressing doubts about the credibility of Saudi Arabia's explanation that Jamal Khashoggi was killed in a fight inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

California Representative Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee, said Friday that Saudi Arabia's claim that he was "killed while brawling with a team of more than a dozen dispatched from Saudi Arabia is not credible".

Schiff says that if Khashoggi was fighting inside the consulate, he was "fighting for his life with people sent to capture or kill him".

He says if Trump's Republican administration won't hold Saudi Arabia accountable for Khashoggi's death, Congress will.

UN chief 'deeply troubled' by confirmation of journalist's death

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is "deeply troubled" by the confirmation of Jamal Khashoggi, a UN spokesman said. 

The spokesman added that Guterres "stresses the need for a prompt, thorough and transparent investigation" into the circumstances surrounding Khashoggi's death. 

US Senator Menendez: 'Global Magnitsky Act doesn't have exceptions' 

Democratic Senator Bob Menendez said on Twitter: "We have proven that international pressure can succeed. Our united outrage clearly factored into the Saudi gov's calculated admission". 

The senator, who is the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was part of a group of senators who triggered the Magnitsky Act earlier this month, which requires the US president to determine whether Khashoggi's rights were violated and whether to impose targeted sanctions. 

Following the news of Saudi Arabia's confirmation, Menendez said: The Global Magnitsky Act doesn't have exceptions for accidents. Even if Khashoggi died because of an altercation, that's no excuse for his murder.

White House 'saddened' to hear confirmation of Khashoggi's death

The White House acknowledged in a statement the Saudi announcement on the investigation of Khashoggi's death. 

"We are saddened to hear confirmation of Mr. Khashoggi's death, and we offer our deepest condolences to his family, fiance and friends," White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement. 

She added that the US will continue to closely follow the international investigations into the incident and "advocate for justice that is timely, transparent and in accordance with all due process". 

US Senator Graham 'sceptical of Saudi narrative'

US Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who has been outspoken on Khashoggi's disappearance, tweeted: "To say that I am skeptical of the new Saudi narrative about Mr. Khashoggi is an understatement."

Saudi King orders formation of committee headed by crown prince

Saudi Arabia's King Salman has ordered the restructuring of the command of the general intelligence agency under the supervision of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the official Saudi press agency said on Saturday.

The agency added the order also included updating regulations, determining the agency's powers, and evaluating its methods and procedures. The committee, according to the King's order, should report to the King within a month.

'Kingdom expresses its deep regret' over Khashoggi's killing

Saudi state-run news agency says "the kingdom expresses its deep regret" over the slaying of writer Jamal Khashoggi.

Saudi king to restructure kingdom's intelligence services 

Saudi King Salman has proposal to restructure kingdom's intelligence services after Khashoggi killing, state media reported. 

18 Saudi nationals arrested over Khashoggi's death

A statement from the Saudi public prosecutor said a fight broke out between Khashoggi and people who met him in the consulate and led to his death.

"The investigations are still underway and 18 Saudi nationals have been arrested," the statement on state media said

Saudi Arabia sacks two senior officials over Khashoggi killing 

The Saudi kingdom fired royal court adviser Saud al-Qahtani and deputy intelligence chief Ahmed Asiri, state media said. 

Saudi Arabia confirms Khashoggi killed inside Istanbul consulate

Saudi Arabia said on Saturday preliminary results of investigations showed US-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi died in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul after a fight with people he met there, state media reported.

Friday, October 19

ABB engineering group CEO latest to drop out of investment conference 

Swiss engineering group ABB has said Chief Executive Officer Ulrich Spiesshofer will not attend the Future Investment Initiative in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, next week. 

Spiesshofer joins other world business and political leaders who have withdrawn amid concern about Khashoggi's fate. ABB did not give a reason for his decision.

Airbus defence chief Dirk Hoke and Deutsche Bank's CEO Christian Sewing also dropped out. 

Report: 'King Salman asserts authority, checks son's power'

Citing five sources close to the Saudi royal family, Reuters news agency reported that King Salman, long absent from the day to day running of the kingdom, has felt compelled to intervene as the Khashoggi crisis deepens.

The report notes that the king, who was initially unaware of Khashoggi's disappearance, sent his most trusted aide, Prince Khaled al-Faisal, governor of Mecca, to meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on October 11. 

"The selection of Khaled, a senior royal with high status, is telling as he is the king's personal adviser, his right hand man and has very strong ties and a friendship with Erdogan," Reuters quoted a Saudi source with links to government circles as saying. 

One of the sources told Reuters that the king's unawareness was partly "because [Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman] MBS aides had been directing the king to glowing news about the country on Saudi TV channels".

"Even if MBS wanted to keep this away from the king he couldn’t because the story about Khashoggi's disappearance was on all the Arab and Saudi TV channels watched by the king," the source, one of five individuals close to the Saudi royal family, said.

"The King started asking aides and MBS about it. MBS had to tell him and asked him to intervene when Khashoggi’s case became a global crisis." 

Turkish probe locates exact site of Khashoggi 'killing' - sources

Turkish investigators were able to locate the exact place within the Saudi consulate where Khashoggi was allegedly killed during their search of the building earlier this week, Turkish sources have said.

The investigators, who used audio recordings of Khashoggi’s alleged murder to guide their search, also confirmed that Salah Muhammad al-Tubaigy, an autopsy expert, began cutting up the 60-year-old's body immediately after he was killed, the sources said.

European aerospace giant drops out of Saudi investment conference

European aerospace giant Airbus said the chief of its defence and space division, Dirk Hoke, will not attend Saudi Arabia’s Future Investment Initiative conference, scheduled to begin in Riyadh on October 23.

"A guideline has been issued to abstain from high profile engagements at this point in time. However, we believe it is important to maintain engagement and dialogue in a country which hosts about 1,000 of our employees," a spokesman said.

Hoke's pull out marks the latest high-profile business boycott of the event, widely dubbed "Davos in the Desert", as international scrutiny and media focus on Saudi Arabia continues to escalate following the disappearance of Saudi writer and critic Jamal Khashoggi.

On Thursday, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced he would not attend after talks with US President Donald Trump.

Turkish foreign minister denies sharing audio recordings with Washington

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has dismissed reports Ankara shared audio recordings documenting the alleged murder of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi with the United States, according to Reuters news agency.

On Thursday, reports suggested Turkish officials had provided US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with a recording indicating Khashoggi was killed by Saudi operatives after entering the Kingdom's consulate in Istanbul earlier this month.

Cavusoglu also said Turkey has evidence and information obtained from its ongoing investigation into Khashoggi's disappearance on October 2, and will share the results of the probe "transparently" with the world.

British Foreign Secretary: UK to take 'considered' response to results of Khashoggi probe

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the UK government will take a "considered" response to any results that emerge from the ongoing investigation into the disappearance of Khashoggi.

He also warned that allegations the Saudi writer and critic was brutally murdered would be totally unacceptable if proven to be true.

"Part of our reaction will depend on the Saudi reaction, and whether we sense that they are taking it as seriously as we are taking it. But this is a very, very serious matter," Hunt told the BBC.

"Our relationship with Saudi is a strategic relationship as well. Our response will be considered ... [but] in the end, if these stories are true, we have to be absolutely clear, it would not be consistent with our values."

Thursday, October 18

Amnesty raises alarm over tennis stars' participation in Saudi exhibition match

Amnesty International UK has warned tennis superstars Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic their participation in an exhibition match due to be held in the Saudi city of Jeddah in December could "sportswash" the Kingdom's "truly appalling human rights record", UK newspaper The Times reported.

Announced earlier this month, the so-called King Salman Tennis Championship, has come under increased scrutiny as a result of mounting international concern and media focus regarding the fate of missing Saudi writer and critic Jamal Khashoggi.

"It's not for us to say which countries should and shouldn't be hosting sporting competitions, but it's also clear that countries like Saudi Arabia are well aware of the potential for sport to subtly 'rebrand' a country," The Times quoted Allan Hogarth, head of advocacy and programmes at Amnesty International UK, as saying.

"Even before the extremely alarming case of Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi Arabia had a truly appalling human rights record and any sportsperson needs to understand that their participation in sporting events in the country could be used as a form of 'sportswashing'," Hogarth added.

"It's up to Nadal and Djokovic where they play their lucrative exhibition matches, but if they go to Jeddah we'd like to see them using their profiles to raise human rights issues. Tweeting support for Saudi Arabia's brave human rights defenders would be a start."

Neither of the pair have made any public comment regarding the event since October 7, when they both said on Twitter they were "looking forward to playing [the match] and visiting [Saudi Arabia]".

NYT: Saudis may blame intelligence official for Khashoggi killing

Saudi rulers are considering blaming a top intelligence official close to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the suspected killing of Jamal Khashoggi, the New York Times reported.

Citing three people with knowledge of the Saudi plans, the newspaper said Saudi Arabia is planning to assign blame to General Ahmed al-Assiri, a high-ranking adviser to the crown prince.

People close to the White House have already been briefed about the plan and given Assiri's name, the Times said.

"The Saudis are already pointing to General Assiri as the culprit," it reported.

Assiri previously served as the spokesman for the Saudi-Emirati led military coalition fighting in Yemen.

According the Times, the Saudi leadership is expected to say Assiri received the green-light from the crown prince to rendition Khashoggi to Saudi Arabia, but he either "misunderstood his instructions or overstepped", according to two sources speaking on condition of anonymity.

Pompeo listened Khashoggi 'murder' recording: report

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo listened to an alleged audio recording of Khashoggi's killing, ABC News reported, citing a senior Turkish official.

The Turkish official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Pompeo listened to the recording on Wednesday during a meeting in Turkey, adding he was also given a transcript of it.

Turkish officials also believe Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi consulate following a struggle that lasted eight minutes and they believe he died of strangulation.

The State Department denied the report. "Secretary Pompeo has neither heard a tape nor has he seen a transcript related to Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance," spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.

Dozens of American lawmakers demand Saudi sanctions

More than 40 lawmakers pressed US President Donald Trump to impose sanctions against Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi's disappearance and suspected murder.

"If your immediate investigation and determination are consistent with ongoing media reports about this outrageous action, we urge strong, comprehensive sanctions," members of the House of Representatives said in a letter, which also called for an end to US support for Saudi Arabia's military action in Yemen.

Democratic Congressman Jim McGovern introduced a bill in the House of Representatives that would halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia unless Secretary of State Mike Pompeo certifies the kingdom did not order the killing of Khashoggi. The bill currently has eight co-sponsors from both political parties.

The lawmakers also voiced support for their colleagues in the Senate, who have already triggered an investigation into Khashoggi's disappearance under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act.

US VP: 'World deserves answers' on Khashoggi

Vice President Mike Pence said after Saudi Arabia reports the results of its investigation - and the administration looks at other available information - it will decide what to do next.

"The world needs to know what happened here, and those who are responsible need to be held to account," Pence said.

"We'll collect all the evidence and then the president will have a decision about what the proper course of action is for us going forward. The world deserves answers. If what has been alleged occurred - if an innocent person lost their life at the hands of violence - that's to be condemned.

"If a journalist, in particular, lost their life at the hands of violence, that's an affront to a free and independent press around the world, and there will be consequences. But, we'll wait for the facts. We'll wait for all the information to come in." 

Trump: 'Certainly looks' like Khashoggi is dead

US President Donald Trump says it "certainly looks" as though Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi is dead.

Trump did not say what he based his conclusion on, but told reporters at Andrews Air Force Base the consequences for the Saudis "will have to be very severe" if they are found to have killed him.

"It's bad, bad stuff," he said.

Turkey expands Khashoggi search to wooded areas

Turkish investigators widened their probe into Khashoggi's disappearance to include three different areas on the outskirts of Istanbul, officials said.

One area investigators are searching was a forest called Belgrad, roughly 16km from Istanbul's city centre, Elshayyal said, while the other was farmland in Turkey's Yalova province, about 93km east of the city.

Saudi prince's companion at consulate when Khashoggi vanished

A member of Crown Prince Mohammed's entourage during several trips abroad walked into the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul just before Khashoggi vanished there, according to photos published by Turkish newspaper Sabah.

The man, identified as Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb by Turkish officials, has been photographed in the background of Prince Mohammed's trips to the US, France and Spain this year.

Surveillance pictures published by Sabah show Mutreb walking past police barricades at the consulate at 9:55am on October 2 with several men trailing behind him.

Khashoggi arrived at the consulate several hours later at 1:14pm, and never re-emerged.

Leading rights groups seek UN probe into missing Saudi writer

Four prominent human rights and press freedom groups urged Turkey to request a UN investigation into Khashoggi's suspected murder to prevent a "whitewash" of the alleged crime.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders said Turkey should enlist the UN "to initiate a timely, credible, and transparent investigation".

"UN involvement is the best guarantee against a Saudi whitewash or attempts by other governments to sweep the issue under the carpet to preserve lucrative business ties with Riyadh," said Robert Mahoney, deputy executive director of the CPJ.

US Treasury Secretary withdraws from Saudi conference

Secretary of US Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, says he will not attend next week's investment conference in Saudi Arabia as a probe continues into the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. 

US gives Saudi Arabia 'few more days' on Khashoggi

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he told President Donald Trump that the US should give Saudi Arabia a few more days to wrap up its investigation into Khashoggi's disappearance. 

"I told President Trump this morning that we ought to give them a few more days ... so that we too have a complete understanding of the facts" before deciding on a response, Pompeo told reporters at the White House. 

Putin wants more evidence on Khashoggi's fate 

Vladimir Putin says Russia would wait for the outcome of an investigation into Khashoggi's disappearance before deciding what impact the writer's fate may have on relations with Saudi Arabia.

Speaking at an international policy forum in Sochi, the Russian president called Khashoggi's disappearance a "tragedy", but said Moscow needs "to understand what happened" before deciding what impact it may have on ties with Riyadh.

"Those who believe that there was a murder must present evidence," he said. 

Joe Biden: Trump 'seems to have a love affair with autocrats'

A former US Vice President has criticised Trump's response to Khashoggi's disappearance, saying the president "coddles" dictators.

Joe Biden told CBS' "This Morning" programme that if Saudi Arabia is found to be responsible for the journalist's suspected murder, the kingdom should "absolutely, positively" face consequences.

Biden, who has been tipped as a potential Democratic presidential candidate for the 2020 elections, said the "retaliation" could take the form of cancelled arms sales.

He added that his doubts about Crown Prince Mohammed leadership have "been confirmed".

"My doubts are that there's very little of rule of law, respect for human rights, dignity and the allegations that are made so far - we don't know yet - are not inconsistent with the way the kingdom would act and so I'm very worried that the president seems to have a love affair with autocrats and the idea that he's already making excuses before the facts are known is typical but it hurts us internationally," he said.

UK trade minister pulls out of Saudi conference

British trade minister Liam Fox has pulled out of the Saudi investment summit, saying the time "was not right for him" to attend the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh on October 23.

"The UK remains very concerned about Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance," a spokesperson for the minister said. "Those bearing responsibility for his disappearance must be held to account."

Turkish officials: Audio reveals Khashoggi was beaten as he entered the consulate

Sources in the Turkish police and public prosecutor's office have said that an 11-minute audio recording reveals Khashoggi was beaten up as he entered the Saudi consulate.

The recording purportedly features voices in the A and B blocks of the consulate building, which are part of the building's entrance.

The information comes a day after Turkish authorities searched the Saudi consulate and the residence of the consul general.

Fingerprints found during the search include those of Salah Muhammad al-Tubaigy, an autopsy expert from Naif Arab University for Security Sciences.

He is among the 15 men suspected of forming a Saudi hit squad to kill Khashoggi. His fingerprints were found around an electrical socket in the consulate.

None of the men entered Turkey on fake passports, according to sources in the public prosecutor's office, who say some are thought to have used diplomatic passports.

Sources have also said that an individual close to Khashoggi is believed to have been relaying information back to Saudi Arabia about the journalist's actions and whereabouts since he left the kingdom.

Dutch cancel Saudi trade mission

The Dutch government cancelled a trade mission to Saudi Arabia next month due to concerns over the disappearance of Khashoggi, a spokeswoman said.

"All trade missions to the country have been suspended for now," a spokeswoman for PSPS Consultants, which had organised the trip for the government told Reuters.

The decision came minutes after Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra said he was scrapping plans to attend the Future Investment Initiatives conference in Riyadh next week.

Also on Thursday, the CEO of French defence electronics group Thales announced that he would no longer be attending the conference, however the company will still be represented by Jean-Loic Galle, an executive in Thales' space division.

Searches turn up fingerprints and other "important" samples

Turkish sources have said that "important samples" were found during searches of two Saudi diplomatic buildings in Istanbul on Wednesday.

Sources said that they found fingerprints inside C-block of six of the 15 men accused of forming part of a hit-squad.

Investigators spent more than 12 hours scouring the consulate and consul general's residence for clues about Khashoggi's fate.

French economy minister pulls out of Saudi conference

French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire has become the latest high profile figure to drop out of an economic conference in Saudi Arabia over the alleged murder of Khashoggi.

"I won't go to Riyadh next week," he told France's Public Senate TV channel on Thursday, saying the journalist's disappearance was "very serious".

Companies such as Uber, JP Morgan Chase and HSBC have also dropped out, along with media giants CNN, The Financial Times and The New York Times.

Crime scene investigators leave Saudi consul's residence

Turkish investigators who searched the Saudi consul-general's residence in Istanbul recovered "samples" after examining the premises for more than nine hours, according to sources at the prosecutor's office.

The forensics team scoured the residence, garage and garden as well, Simmons said. Turkish investigators were seen leaving the building carrying boxes and bags.

Sources say there is video evidence that a car drove from the Saudi consulate to the consul general's residence on the day Khashoggi disappeared.

Saudi Consul General Mohammed al-Otaibi and his family unexpectedly left Turkey on Tuesday.

Turkish investigators also re-examined the Saudi consulate after searching it for nine hours on Monday as part of the Khashoggi investigation.

Turkey's interior minister said the investigation's results will be "shared with the world", which could happen this week.

Turkish newspaper gives graphic detail of alleged murder

A pro-government Turkish newspaper published a gruesome recount of Khashoggi's alleged killing at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Yeni Safak reported Khashoggi was killed within minutes of entering the consulate and his torturers severed his fingers during an interrogation. His killers later beheaded and dismembered him, it said, citing an alleged audio recording of the attack.

The newspaper said Saudi Consul General Mohammed al-Otaibi could be heard on the tape telling those allegedly torturing Khashoggi: "Do this outside; you're going to get me in trouble."

The newspaper said one of the men torturing Khashoggi replied: "Shut up if you want to live when you return to [Saudi] Arabia."

A New York Times report cited a senior Turkish official confirming the details published by Yeni Safak.

Turkey has not shared with the US government or European allies graphic audio or video evidence, seven US and European security officials told Reuters news agency.

The United States and allies have collected some intelligence through their own sources and methods, which partly confirms news reports based on leaks of audio recordings, four of the sources said.

Trump denies covering for Saudis

US President Donald Trump denied covering up for ally Saudi Arabia in Khashoggi's suspected murder.

Trump's comments followed the publication in pro-government Turkish media of allegations purporting to confirm Khashoggi was not only murdered by Saudi agents in their consulate in Istanbul, but tortured and dismembered.

"No not at all, I just want to find out what's happening," Trump told reporters in the White House when asked if his cautious approach to the scandal amounts to a cover-up.

"I'm not giving cover at all."

The president said he would get a "full report" from Pompeo on the diplomat's return from meetings with Saudi and Turkish leaders, allowing him to assess what really happened.

"We will probably know that by the end of the week," Trump said.

Mnuchin to decide Thursday if attending Saudi conference

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says he will decide on Thursday whether he will attend an investment conference in Riyadh that has been boycotted by global business leaders concerned about Khashoggi's fate.

Mnuchin said he will "revisit the decision again" after reviewing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's report on the case on Thursday. 

Washington Post publishes new Khashoggi column

The Washington Post published a new column by Khashoggi, in which he discussed the importance of a free press in the Middle East.

Governments in the region "have been given free rein to continue silencing the media at an increasing rate", he wrote.

Khashoggi condemned what he called silence from the international community over attacks on press freedom, saying imprisonment of journalists and seizing control of newspapers "no longer carry the consequence of a backlash from the international community".

"Instead, these actions may trigger condemnation followed by silence," he wrote.

Post Global Opinions Editor Karen Attiah said she received the column from Khashoggi's assistant a day after he was reported missing.

The newspaper also plans to publish a page dedicated to Khashoggi in its opinions section on Thursday.

US senators press Trump on Saudi business ties

Eleven Democratic senators have sent a letter to Trump and to the Trump Organization seeking a full accounting of any financial ties between the Trump Organization and Saudi Arabia.

"It is imperative that this sanctions determination, and US policy towards Saudi Arabia generally, are not influenced by any conflicts of interest that may exist because of your or your family's deep financial ties to Saudi Arabia," the senators wrote to Trump.

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