Fri, Oct 26, 2018 - Page 6 News List

Saudi-Turkish team finds killing was premeditated

PRINCE’S VIEW?Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Wednesday said Jamal Khashoggi’s killing was a ‘heinous crime’ and vowed to bring the killers to justice

Bloomberg

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman speaks during a session of the Future Investment Initiative Conference in Riyadh on Wednesday.

Photo: EPA-EFE / Bandar Algaloud / Saudi Royal Palace Handout

Saudi Arabia’s prosecutor has received information from Turkish investigators suggesting the killing of government critic Jamal Khashoggi was premeditated, adding new pressure on the kingdom just as its de facto ruler courts foreign investors.

The Saudi prosecutor is continuing its interrogations of the suspects in light of the information and the findings of its preliminary investigations, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported yesterday.

The announcement came as CIA Director Gina Haspel prepared to brief US President Donald Trump following a quick trip to Turkey this week.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed that Haspel was to brief Trump.

The Washington Post reported that Haspel heard an audio tape allegedly made of Khashoggi’s interrogation and killing at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.

The CIA declined to comment when asked whether Haspel heard any such recording.

A Turkish official said the Post report was accurate.

Trump’s administration is facing rising pressure to act against Saudi Arabia and the president has appeared to be stepping back from giving Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman his full support.

The US has long been Saudi Arabia’s most important partner and Trump has made the kingdom the centerpiece of his efforts to isolate Iran.

After denying Khashoggi’s death for nearly three weeks, the kingdom last week said he was accidentally killed after a discussion at the consulate turned into an altercation.

However, it has not explained why his body is still missing, or how a meeting in a diplomatic compound grew violent.

Saudi Arabia has said that 18 people had been arrested in connection with the incident, and a senior intelligence official and an adviser to Prince Mohammed were removed from their jobs.

Prince Mohammed on Wednesday made his first public comments since his government admitted Khashoggi had been killed.

Speaking at an investment forum he was hosting in Riyadh, he called the killing a “heinous crime” and promised to bring the killers to justice, but offered no new information on what happened.

Striking a defiant tone, the prince told international investors that the furor would not derail the kingdom’s reform drive.

“We will prove to the world that the two governments [Saudi Arabian and Turkish] are cooperating to punish any criminal, any culprit and at the end justice will prevail,” he said to applause.

He spoke hours after Trump was quoted by the Wall Street Journal as saying that as the de facto ruler, the crown prince bore ultimate responsibility for the operation that led to Khashoggi’s death.

Trump told the Journal in an interview that he did not think Saudi Arabian King Salman knew about the killing in advance.

Prince Mohammed yesterday presided over the first meeting of a committee to restructure the command of the general intelligence agency, the SPA said.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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