News ID: 233104
Published: 0135 GMT October 21, 2018

Saudi account of Khashoggi's death meets growing skepticism

Saudi account of Khashoggi's death meets growing skepticism

US senator: Saudi crown prince behind consulate killing

Saudi Arabia faced a growing chorus of incredulity Sunday over its belated explanation of how critic Jamal Khashoggi died inside its Istanbul consulate, as world powers demanded answers and the whereabouts of his body.

After a fortnight of denials, Saudi authorities admitted on Saturday that the Washington Post columnist was killed after entering the consulate on October 2, a disappearance that sparked outrage and plunged the Persian Gulf kingdom into a spiraling international crisis, AFP wrote.

Turkish officials have accused Riyadh of carrying out a state-sponsored killing and dismembering the body, with pro-government media in Turkey reporting the existence of video and audio evidence to back those claims.

Police have searched a forest in Istanbul where they believe his body may have been dumped.

After initially saying Khashoggi left the consulate unharmed, and then that they were investigating his disappearance, Saudi authorities backtracked and admitted the 60-year-old was killed in a "brawl" with officials inside the consulate.

But that narrative – combined with the absence of Khashoggi's body – quickly drew skepticism and scorn from many, including staunch allies.

Ankara vowed to reveal all the details of its own inquiry as US President Donald Trump said he was unsatisfied with Saudi Arabia's response to the columnist's death while the EU, Germany, France, Britain, Australia, Canada and the UN also demanded greater clarity.

It has also evolved into a major crisis for Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a Trump administration favorite widely known as MBS, whose image as a modernizing Arab reformer has been gravely undermined.

Britain was among the latest countries to question Riyadh's version of events.

"I don't think it's credible," Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab told the BBC on Sunday, adding there was a "serious question mark over the account that has been given".

"We support the Turkish investigation into it and the British government wants to see people held to account for that death."

Ankara has said it has a "debt of honor" to reveal what happened.

"We are not accusing anyone in advance but we don't accept anything to remain covered (up)," said ruling Justice and Development Party spokesman Omer Celik.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said many questions remained unanswered while German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged transparency, adding that "available reports on what happened in the Istanbul consulate are insufficient."

 

MBS behind killing

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called into question the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia.

The EU's top diplomat Federica Mogherini and UN chief Antonio Guterres both called for a proper investigation and for the perpetrators to be held to account.

Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said Riyadh’s explanations lacked consistency and credibility.

Senior Republican Senator Marco Rubio was stark in his assessment.

The chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee said the Saudi crown prince has "now crossed a line and there has to be a punishment and a price paid for that."

Tennessee Republican Bob Corker told CNN that based on his briefings he believes the royal was behind the killing of the Saudi critic.

AFP, Reuters and AP contributed to this story.

 

 

   
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