Khashoggi strangled in planned attack, body dismembered – Turkish prosecutor
Journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed by “strangulation” immediately after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, a Turkish prosecutor has confirmed, adding that his body was “cut into pieces’ after the murder.
The dissident reporter disappeared after going to the diplomatic mission on October 2. After denying his death and the knowledge of his whereabouts for days, Riyadh admitted that Khashoggi died as a result of a 'fist fight.' Later, the Saudi prosecutors also said that some evidence suggested that Khashoggi’s killing was premeditated.
Now, the office of Istanbul’s chief prosecutor Irfan Fidan says Khashoggi was strangled as soon as he entered the diplomatic compound as part of a premeditated killing. This is the first official confirmation of the murder made by the Turkish officials.
The statement stopped short of accusing the Saudis of non-cooperation in regards to the meeting of Saudi chief prosecutor Saud al-Mojeb and his entourage with Turkish law enforcement authorities earlier this week.
“Despite all our well-intentioned efforts to uncover the truth, we have not achieved any concrete results,” the statement said, referring to the talks, as cited by the local media. Turkey has been pressing the Saudis for information about the journalist’s remains as well as about the person who might have ordered the hit.
Ankara also demanded extradition of all suspects in this case, arguing that the journalist was killed on Turkish territory and the investigation of this case thus falls within the jurisdiction of the Turkish authorities.
Saudi Arabia detained 18 Saudi nationals suspected of being involved in the journalist’s murder, maintaining the Kingdom itself would try the suspects and bring them to justice after the investigation was finished.
Khashoggi’s murder put pressure on Riyadh’s relations with Western countries to a certain extent. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has suspended all German arms sales to Saudi Arabia during the investigation, while calling the murder a “monstrosity.”
France said it would back sanctions against those found guilty of Khashoggi’s death and did not rule out “punitive measures” against Riyadh itself if the kingdom is found responsible. The French and German leaders also agreed that further consequences for Saudi Arabia might include a possible weapon sales ban at the EU level.
The US, however, was much more reluctant to punish its ‘major ally’ in the Middle East. President Donald Trump repeatedly said that Washington would not be axing its arms deals with the Saudis, which are worth billions of dollars. Speaking to the Wall Street Journal earlier in October, Trump also said that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman might be implicated in the journalist’s killing but he personally wanted to believe that he was not.
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also said it was “very difficult” to drop an arms deal with Riyadh worth billions of dollars.
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