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Jamal Khashoggi: Saudi Arabia’s Contradictory Explanations

Posted Monday, October 22, 2018 - 10:14 am

Saudi authorities first insisted the journalist Jamal Khashoggi came out of its consulate in Istanbul alive, now they say he was murdered inside the building by individuals “outside the scope of their authority”.

Here is a summary of the various contradictory explanations offered by Riyadh since the Saudi national and Washington Post contributor disappeared on October 2, sparking a major international crisis.

– Disappeared, not inside –

On October 4 after an initial period of silence, Riyadh says the journalist disappeared “after he left the consulate building”.

The following day Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman tells Bloomberg that Khashoggi is not inside the consulate.

– ‘Baseless lies’ –

On October 13 Saudi Arabia’s interior minister rejects accusations that Khashoggi was ordered murdered by a hit squad inside the consulate, dismissing them as “lies and baseless allegations”.

– Dies in a ‘brawl’ –

Overnight October 19-20, Saudi Arabia admits the journalist was killed inside its consulate in Istanbul.

“Discussions that took place between him and the persons who met him… led to a brawl and a fistfight with the citizen, Jamal Khashoggi, which led to his death,” Saudi Attorney General Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb says in a statement.

– ‘Chokehold’ –

However, Ali Shihabi, the head of pro-Saudi think tank Arabia Foundation which is said to be close to the government contradicts the Saudi narrative, saying “Khashoggi died from a chokehold during a physical altercation, not a fist fight”, citing a senior Saudi source.

– ‘Murder’, ‘tremendous mistake’ –

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir says in an interview with Fox News on October 21 that the operation was not ordered by the crown prince.

“We are determined to punish those who are responsible for this murder,” he says.

“The individuals who did this, did this outside the scope of their authority. There obviously was a tremendous mistake made, and what compounded the mistake was the attempt to try to cover up.”

“We don’t know, in terms of details, how. We don’t know where the body is.”

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