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theodore M I R A L D I mpa ... editor, publisher, writer
Thursday, October 25, 2018
MURDER of Khashoggi PLANNED
Getty Images Lia Eustachewich
The killing of Jamal Khashoggi was planned ahead of time, Saudi Arabian officials said Thursday in the latest flip-flop on the journalist’s mysterious death.
Saudi Attorney General Saud al-Mojeb said investigators reached their conclusion that Khashoggi’s slaying was premeditated after examining evidence from Turkish officials as part of their joint investigation, a statement on the state-run Saudi Press Agency said.
Initially, Saudi Arabia said Khashoggi, who was a vocal critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, had left the consulate after a visit Oct. 2 — but then changed its tune to say a brawl led to his death and that 18 Saudi suspects had been detained.
Turkey has been turning up the pressure for answers, including the whereabouts of the Washington Post columnist’s remains.
“Jamal Khashoggi’s body still hasn’t been found. Where is it?” Turkey’s foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, said Thursday at a news conference. “There is a crime here, but there is also a humanitarian situation. The family wants to know and they want to perform their last duty.”
Officials have the recording, according to pro-government media in Turkey, but its existence has not been confirmed.
Conflicting reports also emerged Thursday about whether investigators had searched a well in the garden of Saudi Arabia’s consulate.
The well was emptied and the water was taken for analysis to determine whether body parts were dumped there, pro-government Turkish newspaper Yeni Safak reported.
But another pro-government publication, Sabah, quoted officials who said Saudi Arabia had yet to give Turkish investigators permission to search the well.
Turkish media also published a photo from a security camera that allegedly shows a Saudi consular vehicle with diplomatic license plates “scouting” Belgrade Forest on the outskirts of Istanbul ahead of Khashoggi’s killing.
Recept Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey, has accused Saudi officials of making “reconnaissance” trips to the woods and the city of Yalova a day before Khashoggi died.
Officials have told the Associated Press that investigators are searching those two locations for the journalist’s body.