Saudi king briefs Putin on investigation into Khashoggi death

AFP  File | Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was a fierce critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Through a steady stream of leaks to Turkish and foreign media, Turkish officials have mounted a compelling case that the Saudi agents planned to kill Khashoggi, dismember him and dispose of his remains.

Still, neither Trump nor Saudi Arabia has been willing to implicate Saudi leadership in the journalist's killing. "They were representing the state when they acted as they acted".

Turkey said it believed a hit squad of Saudi nationals had travelled to Istanbul with the sole goal of killing Khashoggi, a former member of the Saudi elite who became critical of the current government's administration in his country.

But she added: "We should keep in mind there are hundreds, if not thousands, of people in Saudi Arabia who face travel bans and are held in detention without any justice".

Salah bin Jamal Khashoggi, a dual US-Saudi citizen, had previously been unable to leave Riyadh after his passport was restricted by the Kingdom few months ago.

The son of murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Salah, and his family have left the Gulf kingdom after the government lifted a travel ban, Human Rights Watch said Thursday.

The Saudi disclosure came after Central Intelligence Agency director Gina Haspel heard an audio recording of the killing during a fact-finding visit to Turkey this week.

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The shifting explanations indicate Saudi Arabia is scrambling for a way out of the crisis that has enveloped the world's largest oil exporter and a major US ally in the Middle East.

The Saudi prosecution had received information from Turkish investigators suggesting that the suspects meant to kill Khashoggi, and would continue its probe in light of those findings, the official Saudi Press Agency said on Thursday.

Salah Khashoggi met Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince before leaving for the US.

Khashoggi, 59, a Washington Post columnist and critic Saudi Arabia's powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, or MBS, vanished after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

Initially Saudi officials claimed Khashoggi had left the diplomatic mission unharmed; however, under Turkish pressure joined by the questions from the global community, it was forced to confess that he had been killed in a premeditated murder. He told reporters on Thursday that he wanted to know where Khashoggi's body is.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he is working with the Treasury Department on whether to impose sanctions on those found responsible for the journalist's death. The resolution came several days after Germany became the first Western government to suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia, the world's largest arms importer.

"We will continue to demand that all authorities across the Middle East immediately release all opinion leaders and political prisoners".

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