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Khashoggi Saudi journalist’s murder: three weeks of crisis

Here is a timeline of events since the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul, as pressure mounts on Riyadh to say who ordered it.

– Disappearance –

At around 1:15 pm (1015 GMT) on October 2, Washington Post contributor Khashoggi is recorded entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul by a surveillance camera.

He went there to collect a document for his upcoming marriage. His Turkish fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, waits outside.


On October 3, the Washington Post raises the alarm, saying he has not been seen since he entered the consulate.

The US State Department says it is investigating.

On October 4, Riyadh says Khashoggi disappeared “after he left the consulate building”.

– ‘Murdered’ –

On October 6, a government source says Turkish police believe Khashoggi was murdered inside the consulate “by a team especially sent to Istanbul and who left the same day”.

Riyadh calls the claim “baseless”.

CCTV footage released by Turkish TV shows a van entering the consulate on October 2, before going to the consul’s residence nearby.

On October 15, US President Donald Trump says he received a strong denial from King Salman of any involvement.

Visiting Riyadh, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says Saudi Arabia promised a thorough probe.

– ‘Severe’ response –

On October 17, Turkish pro-government daily Yeni Safak reports that Khashoggi was tortured before being decapitated inside the consulate, saying it had heard audio recordings of the event.

The New York Times says a suspect identified by Turkey in the disappearance was in Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s inner circle. Three other suspects are linked to his security detail.

Trump says he now believes Khashoggi is dead and warns of “very severe” consequences should Saudi Arabia be proven responsible.

On October 19, local media reports that Turkish investigators have searched a forest in Istanbul, having already searched the consulate and the consul’s residence.

– Killed in ‘brawl’ –

On October 20, Saudi Arabia admits that Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate.

Finally Saudi Arabia admits Khashoggi died in consulate

Saudi Attorney General Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb says he died after talks deteriorated into a “brawl and a fistfight”.

The public prosecutor says 18 Saudi nationals have been detained.

Riyadh simultaneously announces the sacking of top intelligence official Ahmad al-Assiri and royal media advisor Saud al-Qahtani — top aides to the crown prince.

The Saudi king orders the creation of a ministerial body chaired by the crown prince to restructure the kingdom’s intelligence service.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir tells Fox News on October 21 the operation was not ordered by the crown prince.

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

– Scepticism –

Britain, France and Germany say Riyadh must clarify how Khashoggi died and its account must be backed by “credible” facts.

Trump accuses Saudi Arabia of lying about the killing.

On October 22, Yeni Safak says a Saudi security official sent to Istanbul called the head of Prince Mohammed’s office “four times” after the murder.

– Saudi in crisis –

Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih says on October 23 that Saudi Arabia is in “crisis” amid international outrage over the murder. He spoke at an investment summit boycotted by many global CEOs and policymakers.

– Erdogan contradicts Riyadh –

In a speech to lawmakers in Ankara, Erdogan calls for the 18 Saudi suspects to stand trial in Istanbul, saying “all those who played a role in the murder” must be punished.

Erdogan says the murder was “planned” days in advance and demands answers on who gave orders to the team. “This is a political murder,” he says.

– Pence stresses ‘vital national interests’ –

US Vice President Mike Pence vows to “demand” answers from Riyadh.

Trump will decide what to do “based upon the values of the American people and our vital national interests”, he adds.

– G-7 notes blanks –

A statement by G7 foreign ministers says the official Saudi account of what happened leaves “many questions unanswered”.


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