12:00 AM, October 21, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:21 AM, October 21, 2018



After weeks of denials, Saudi Arabia for the first time confirmed that journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside its consulate in the Turkish city of Istanbul. The kingdom claimed early on Saturday that The Washington Post columnist died after a "fist fight" inside the building and 18 Saudi citizens were arrested over the killing. Khashoggi, a critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, went missing on October 2 after entering the consulate in Istanbul to obtain documents needed for his upcoming marriage.


Antonio Guterres, secretary-general of the United Nations, is "deeply troubled" by Riyadh's confirmation of Khashoggi's death, according to a spokesperson. The UN chief called for a "prompt, thorough, transparent" probe into the circumstances of the killing and urged full accountability for those who were involved. He extended his condolences to Khashoggi's family and friends. UNESCO chief Audrey Azoulay said: "The killing of Jamal Khashoggi reminds us of the need to fight for press freedom, which is essential to democracy. Accountability for these crimes is non-negotiable."


Riyadh has to be held to account for the death of Khashoggi and the imprisonment of other journalists, Christophe Deloire, Secretary General of  Reporters without Borders tweeted. "Any attempt to get rid of the pressure on Saudi Arabia and to accept a compromise policy would result in giving a 'license to kill' to a Kingdom that puts in jail, lashes, kidnaps and even kills journalists who dare to investigate and launch debates," he wrote. Amnesty International said the "impartiality" of a Saudi investigation into the killing of Khashoggi would remain in question.


US President Donald Trump said Saudi Arabia's explanation for how Khashoggi was killed was credible, adding what happened at the consulate is "unacceptable". He also said he prefers any sanctions against Riyadh not include cancelling multibillion-dollar defence deals. Politicians in the US have reacted in disbelief at the Saudi claim. "To say that I am sceptical of the new Saudi narrative about Mr Khashoggi is an understatement," prominent Republican Senator Lindsey Graham wrote on Twitter. Democrat Congressman Adam Schiff also questioned the Saudi's credibility, tweeting: "If he was fighting with those sent to capture or kill him it was for his life. The kingdom must be held to account. If the administration doesn't lead, Congress must." California's Eric Swalwell, a senior Democrat congressman on the Intelligence Committee, said the unanswered question now is the location of Khashoggi's remains.  US Senator Richard Blumenthal criticised the Saudi explanation, writing on Twitter that Saudi actions "continue to defy credibility and common sense". In an interview with CNN he added that the Saudis are "buying time and buying cover" with their decision to commission an investigation into Khashoggi's death.


Khashoggi's fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, was the last person to see him alive on October 2 when he entered the Saudi consulate. The reason he went there was to obtain a document proving his divorce so he could remarry. "God have mercy on you my love Jamal, and may you rest in Paradise," Cengiz tweeted following the Saudi announcement of his killing.

TURKEY: Ankara vowed to reveal all details of the death of Khashoggi. "Turkey will reveal whatever had happened. Nobody should ever doubt about it," said Omer Celik, spokesman for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), the Anadolu news agency reported. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday night spoke with Saudi King Salman and the two agreed to continue cooperation in the probe.

BRITAIN: London said it was considering the "next steps" after Saudi admission. “This was a terrible act and those responsible must be held to account," the foreign ministry said in a statement.


UAE, Egypt, Bahrain voiced support for Saudi statement on journalist's death and commended the directives and decisions of Saudi King Salman on the issue. They also offered condolences to Khashoggi's family and said they were confident the lauched by Saudi Arabia investigation would reveal the truth.

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