Turkish-Arab media group demands punishment for those who 'ordered' Khashoggi killed

Jamal Khashoggi

October 15: A Saudi-owned satellite news channel says the 15-member team referred to by Turkish media as Khashoggi's "hit squad" were "tourists" visiting Turkey.

The kingdom announced a purge of senior officials following the announcement, including Saud al-Qahtani, an adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and General Ahmed al-Asiri, a senior intelligence officials.

Hours before Trump's rally, Saudi authorities said that their initial investigation revealed that Khashoggi was killed after a discussion turned into a fight during his consulate visit.

The preliminary probe conducted by the prosecutor found that Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi government, was strangled after a fistfight with a group of Saudi "suspects".

Khashoggi was last seen on October 2 entering his country's consulate in Istanbul. Beyond its statements attributed to anonymous officials, Saudi Arabia offered no evidence to support its claims.

Speaking off the record to a Newsweek journalist working on a story about the Saudi leadership, Khashoggi insisted he did not view himself as "an opposition" - he just wanted "a better Saudi Arabia".

Saudi Arabia will now begin a full investigation of the incident, with a deadline of one month to produce a report.

Bob Menendez, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the US should pursue sanctions against those Saudis involved in the journalist's death under the Sergei Magnitsky, which is named after the anti-corruption Russian accountant who died in police custody. "I do." But he said before he decided what to do next, he wanted to talk to the crown prince.

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U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed the Khashoggi's disappearance during an interview Friday with VOA contributor Greta Van Susteren.

Given the days of indignant denials by the Saudi leadership it's doubtful we would have even got this far without sustained global pressure.

He said: "I think it's a very important first step and it happened sooner than people thought it would happen".

Trump allies acknowledged that the White House's equivocations would probably result in growing calls from Congress for a more credible accounting of events from Saudi Arabia, but they doubted it would damage the president politically.

International human rights watchdog Amnesty International has said the Saudi account was "not trustworthy" and called on Riyadh to produce Khashoggi's body so that independent forensic experts might determine the cause of his death. "His body, Saudi officials told several journalists, was handed over to a "local collaborator" for disposal", it said, while also criticising Trump for allegedly trying to help top Saudi leaders escape "meaningful accountability".

"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 opinion, to hold all those involved accountable and bring them to justice", the statement said.

It's believed Jamal Khashoggi was murdered inside his country's embassy in Turkey, causing a diplomatic crisis.

Osman Sert, research director at Ankara Institute and former aide to ex-Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, said he expected Turkey to continue its investigation until it uncovers "who was behind the order" for the killing.

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