Saudi Prosecutors Say Killing of Writer Khashoggi Was Premeditated

By Zachary Stieber

Saudi prosecutors are saying that the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, a columnist, was a planned murder.

Saudi Attorney General Saud al-Mojeb said that investigators came to the conclusion after seeing evidence presented by Turkish officials, reported the state-run Saudi Press Agency on Oct. 25, according to the Associated Press.

Turkey and Saudi Arabia are both investigating the killing. The countries, considered hostile to each other, have been cooperating in the probe.

Khashoggi was last seen on Oct. 2, walking into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and was killed inside the embassy, Saudi officials said previously.

The Saudi Foreign Ministry said that the suspects, all Saudis, traveled to the consulate to try to convince Khashoggi, who was applying for a marriage license, to come back with them to his home country.

Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi1
A still image taken from CCTV video and obtained by TRT World claims to show Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi as he arrives at Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, on Oct. 2, 2018. (Reuters TV/via Reuters)

“The discussions … did not go as required and escalated negatively, which led to a fight between them and the citizen, which aggregated the situation and led to his death, may God rest his soul,” the Foreign Ministry said.

In another statement, the Saudi attorney general said that the discussions at the consulate “led to a brawl and a fist fight … which led to his death.”

On Oct. 21, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir called what happened “a terrible mistake” and “a terrible tragedy.”

“Those responsible will be held accountable for this,” he said in an interview with Fox News, noting that Saudi investigators still don’t know where Khashoggi’s body ended up.

Trump and Turkey

Turkish officials have stressed the need to identify and jail the perpetrators.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Oct. 23 that people behind the killing must “be brought to account.”

In a speech to parliament about the case, Erdogan also alleged the killing was premeditated, although he didn’t blame any Saudi official specifically, and said that the investigation isn’t over yet.

Turkey is known as one of the worst countries in the world in treating writers and journalists, jailing more than 120 journalists from a coup attempt in July 2016 to May 2018, according to Amnesty International.

Tayyip Erdogan speaks about Khashoggi investigation
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks about the murder of Jamal Khashoggi during his weekly parliamentary address in Ankara, Turkey, on Oct. 23, 2018. (Getty Images)

Turkish authorities have also shut down some 180 outlets.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump said on the same day that the Saudis have to be punished in some way for killing the writer.

“There has to be some kind of retribution,” Trump told media in the White House on Oct. 23, while saying he’ll listen to a congressional recommendation on how to respond.