Changing story again, Saudi Arabia says killing was planned

26 October, 2018, 02:39 | Author: Mary Valdez
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Slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi was butchered in a "premeditated" attack, prosecutors say, in an extraordinary reversal from Saudi authorities about the fate of the writer.

On Thursday, the Saudi version of events shifted again, when the Saudi prosecutor said the journalist's murder was premeditated.

In his first comments since some of his closest aides were implicated in Khashoggi's death, the Crown Prince on Wednesday described the killing as a "heinous" crime and vowed to bring those responsible to justice. The statement said the investigation would continue.

Saudi Arabia had insisted for weeks that Khashoggi had walked out of the consulate, before changing their account to say he died in a brawl.

Saudi authorities have scrambled to formulate a convincing explanation for and response to the murder of Khashoggi. The pro-government Yeni Safak newspaper reported Thursday that Turkish security forces were denied access to search the consulate's garden and well, but they were able to obtain water samples from the well.

A statement from Saudi Attorney General Saud al-Mojeb attributed the conclusion about a calculated killing, one of the initial findings of a joint Turkish-Saudi investigation, to information from Turkish counterparts.

The Turkish minister repeated Erdogan's demand that those involved in the murder should be legally tried in Turkey, adding that Ankara was willing to cooperate with everyone.

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"They will not be able to divide us as long as there is a king called King Salman bin Abdul Aziz and a crown prince named Mohammed bin Salman, and a president in Turkey named Erdoğan".

While the Saudi prosecutor's office did not say specifically that its investigators reached the same conclusion, the statement seemed created to acknowledge the legitimacy of evidence and allegations from Turkey that Khashoggi's killing was planned.

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 Khashoggi was accidentally killed in a botched operation to return him to the kingdom.

King Salman, who has delegated the day-to-day running of Saudi Arabia to his son MbS, on Saturday ordered a restructuring of the general intelligence agency.

Rights groups are ramping up pressure against Saudi Arabia's leadership calling on the worldwide community to close its doors on arms sales after the killing of Jamal Khashoggi and over the war in Yemen. A Saudi government statement describes the allegation as "baseless".

The United States has already taken some steps toward punishing the suspects detained or fired by Saudi Arabia, revoking their visas.

"Who gave them the orders?" he asked, pointing out that Khashoggi's body had still not been found.

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