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Riyadh Announces Khashoggi’s Death, Pledges to Punish Criminals

Riyadh Announces Khashoggi’s Death, Pledges to Punish Criminals

Saturday, 20 October, 2018 - 05:45
Riyadh - Asharq Al-Awsat
Saudi Arabia said on Saturday that preliminary results of investigations showed journalist Jamal Khashoggi died in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul after a fight with people he met there, state media reported.

“The investigations are still underway and 18 Saudi nationals have been arrested,” a statement from the Saudi public prosecutor said, adding Royal court adviser Saud al-Qahtani and deputy intelligence chief Ahmed Asiri have been sacked from their positions.

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman issued directives to set up a ministerial committee under the chairmanship of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, to restructure the Kingdom's intelligence agency and "define its powers accurately.”

King Salman issued late on Friday three royal orders, the first relieving Ahmed Bin Hassan Bin Mohammed Assiri from his post as deputy president of General Intelligence, the second relieving Saud Bin Abdullah Al-Qahtani from his post as adviser at the Royal Court, and the third royal order terminating the services of a number of officers working in General Intelligence.

Among them are Assistant Chief of General Intelligence for Intelligence Affairs Air Force Maj. Gen. Muhammad Bin Saleh Al-Rumaih; Assistant Chief of General Intelligence for Human Resources Maj. Gen. Abdullah Bin Khalifa Al-Shayea; and Director of the General Directorate of Security and Protection at the Presidency for General Intelligence Maj. Gen. Rashad Bin Hamed Al-Mehmadi.

US President Donald Trump called the Saudi announcement and arrests a big step.

Speaking to reporters in Arizona, he said: “I think it’s a good first step, it’s a big step."

The US president expressed his confidence in the Saudi statement, adding that he would speak with the Crown Prince.

Trump also emphasized Riyadh’s importance in countering regional rival Iran.

Meanwhile, a Saudi official source was quoted Friday night by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) as saying, “The case of the disappearance of the citizen Jamal Bin Ahmed Khashoggi was taken notice of at the highest levels by the Saudi authorities, and due to the circumstances surrounding his disappearance the Kingdom took the necessary steps to unearth the truth and began by dispatching a security team to Turkey on Oct. 6 to investigate and cooperate with counterparts in Turkey.”

The source said preliminary investigations conducted by the Public Prosecution showed that the suspects had traveled to Istanbul to meet with Khashoggi, as there were indications of the possibility of the latter returning to the country.

“Results also revealed the suspects’ discussions with Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul did not go as planned and led to a fight and a quarrel between some of them and Khashoggi,” the source said.

He added that while the investigations are still going on into the case with 18 Saudi detainees, the Kingdom expresses its deep regret at the painful developments that have taken place and stresses the commitment of the authorities in the Kingdom to bring the facts to the public, to hold all those involved accountable and bring them to justice by referring them to the competent courts in Saudi Arabia.

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