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Journalist goes missing in Saudi Arabia

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Journalist goes missing in Saudi Arabia

Reagan B. '21, Writer

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On Oct. 2, journalist Jamal Khashoggi went missing from a Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul. He was last seen around 1:15 p.m. on his way to pick up a document to certify his divorce so he could marry a new woman from Turkey the following day. Turkish authorities had provided video footage of Khashoggi entering the consulate, but had no footage of him leaving. Although sources there say he left safely, there was no evidence of this being true, according to The New York Times. Khashoggi had been declared dead, but there was little information to identify a motive or definite killer.

According to The New York Times, many believed Saudi Arabian prince Mohammed bin Salman set the abduction plan into motion. Being a critic of the Saudi Arabian government, Khashoggi would not have been liked by Prince Mohammed, who often jailed those who spoke out against the crown.

Another reason the prince might have had motive to abduct Khashoggi, is the journalists close relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood, a political organization that believes Islam is a way of life, which up until recently had been welcomed in Saudi Arabia. The Muslim Brotherhood is no longer accepted, and has since been declared a terrorist group in Saudi Arabia. The Arab Spring uprisings led the royal family to change their minds about the group, making Khashoggi unpopular in their eyes.

“United States intelligence agencies reported intercepted Saudi communications about the possible abduction of Mr. Khashoggi at the request of the crown prince, according to a senior former American official. But there is no indication that those discussions were related to Mr. Khashoggi’s visit to the consulate,” according to The New York Times.

Fox News announced Arab Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir publicized the murder of Khashoggi, and admitted to making a mistake by ending his life. Although Khashoggi had been declared dead, the minister denied any involvement by the prince at that time.

Prince Mohammed was still continuing to deny any involvement in Khashoggi’s murder, and had said Khashoggi’s death was a “heinous crime that cannot be justified.” However, using Turkish evidence, Saudi Attorney General Saud al-Mojeb concluded that Khashoggi’s murder was premeditated, according to The New York Times.

“I find it interesting that even with all of the accusations, the prince still would not admit to being involved,” Carly R. ‘21 said.

Turkish officials said the day Khashoggi entered the consulate, 15 Saudi agents came to Istanbul in private jets owned by a company linked to Prince Mohammed and the Saudi Interior Ministry. This section of the government is responsible for national security, naturalization, immigration and customs, according to The New York Times. The same source said the 15 Saudi agents came into the consulate and killed Khashoggi after he was there for two hours. The Saudi agents also brought a doctor who had a bone saw, which authorities believe was used to dismember Khashoggi’s body, however Turkey refuses to make any of this evidence public record. The country had hinted at keeping certain information to themselves, in order to prevent intelligence sources from being exposed, as they could get in trouble for using electronic surveillance to watch over citizens.

“The rights of citizens need to be protected, so Turkey needs to release this information, and those responsible need to be held accountable in order for proper justice to be served,” history teacher Daniel Harris said.

According to The New York Times, on Oct. 11, Turkey agreed to join forces with Saudi Arabia to help get more information on the case, and the following day, Saudi Arabian officials arrived in Istanbul. A Saudi Arabian prosecutor said investigations had revealed a fistfight occurred shortly before Khashoggi’s death, and 18 Saudis had been arrested.

“A Saudi Foreign Ministry official says the kingdom is investigating the ‘regrettable and painful incident of Jamal Khashoggi’s death’ and forming a committee to hold those responsible accountable,” according to The New York Times.

Further investigation revealed knowledge of a recording with information providing information pertaining to Khashoggi’s assassination which was shared with the C.I.A. director Gina Haspel.

“Last month, a member of the kill team instructed a superior over the phone to ‘tell your boss,’ believed to be Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, that the operatives had carried out their mission, according to three people familiar with a recording of Mr. Khashoggi’s killing collected by Turkish intelligence,” according to The New York Times.

The C.I.A. believed Turkey may have had other evidence including surveillance footage of Khashoggi’s final hours, and phone calls. They also thought the country shared this recording after reviewing it and choosing only what they wanted America to hear.

After further investigation, the C.I.A. has determined the prince was behind Khashoggi’s murder. They came to this conclusion after assessing the immense power the prince has over Saudi Arabia and concluded the murder would not have taken place without his approval. New evidence was also discovered towards the end of the investigation which included recordings or Prince Mohammed attempting to get Khashoggi to come back to Saudi Arabia, according to The New York Times.

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