Saudi authorities released the statement after the journalist had been missing for more than two weeks after entering the Saudi Arabia consulate in Turkey.
WASHINGTON – The admission by Saudi Arabia Friday evening that Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi was killed in its consulate in Turkey was stunning but left many with questions.
For weeks, the regime has issued a variety of statements denying any knowledge of Khashoggi’s disappearance. Meanwhile, reports continued to mount detailing the role Saudi officials played in Khashoggi’s brutal death and dismemberment.
In the end, Saudi Arabia admitted the columnist, who was critical of the regime and lived in Virginia, died in its consulate. Eighteen people were arrested in the incident.
Here are the back and forth statements given by the Saudis since Khashoggi’s disappearance on Oct. 2:
He visited and ‘exited shortly thereafter’
The first statements given by Saudi officials denied any knowledge over Khashoggi’s disappearance. He went to the consulate in Istanbul to go over some paperwork related to his upcoming marriage while his fiance waited for him outside.
His wife told The Washington Post he never came out.
Saudi officials told Reuters on Oct. 3 Khashoggi was “not in the consulate nor in Saudi custody.”
“Mr. Khashoggi visited the consulate to request paperwork related to his marital status and exited shortly thereafter,” the official said.
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud sat down for an interview with Bloomberg on Oct. 3, welcoming an investigation.
“We hear the rumors about what happened. He’s a Saudi citizen and we are very keen to know what happened to him,” he said. “And we will continue our dialogue with the Turkish government to see what happened to Jamal there.”
He emphasized that no one knew what happened to Khashoggi and they had “nothing to hide.
“We are ready to welcome the Turkish government to go and search our premises,” he said. “The premises are sovereign territory, but we will allow them to enter and search and do whatever they want to do. If they ask for that, of course, we will allow them. We have nothing to hide.”
Looking into Khashoggi’s disappearance
On Oct. 4, news continued to spread about Khashoggi’s disappearance and the Saudis continued to deny knowledge of what happened to him, instead insisting the columnist left the building.
“The consulate confirmed that it is carrying out follow-up procedures and coordination with the Turkish local authorities to uncover the circumstances of the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi after he left the consulate building,” a statement from the consulate read.
‘Baseless allegations’ that Khashoggi was killed
The denials by Saudi officials intensified once reports surfaced that Khashoggi was killed in the consulate.
On Oct. 7, Saudi officials denounced a Reuters report on the killing as “baseless allegations.” The report by the news service also included that 15 Saudis flew to Istanbul the day of Khashoggi’s disappearance and had visited the consulate.
The following day, the Saudi ambassador to the United States, Prince Khalid bin Salman, sent Axios reporter Jonathan Swan a WhatsApp message denying that the Saudi government was involved in Khashoggi’s disappearance.
Swan asked if there was footage of Khashoggi leaving the consulate. He did not receive a reply.
‘Absolutely false’ that Saudi officials killed Khashoggi
Saudi ambassador to the United States, Prince Khalid bin Salman, offered a statement on Oct. 9 on the intensifying reports indicating Khashoggi died in the consulate and was dismembered.
“Jamal has many friends in the Kingdom, including myself, and despite our differences, and his choice to go into his so called ‘self-exile,’ we still maintained regular contact when he was in Washington,” he said.
He added the leaks from Turkish officials indicating Khashoggi had been victim to a brutal murder were “absolutely false, and baseless.”
Allegations aim to ‘undermine’ Saudi Arabia
The killing sparked put pressure on international relations, and President Donald Trump was placed under fire over whether the killing would mean sanctions and the halt of an arms deal with Saudi Arabia.
After Trump threatened “severe punishment” if the nation was involved in Khashoggi’s disappearance, Saudi Arabia responded on Oct. 14 with a statement opposing those who would “undermine” the nation with allegations, threatening economic sanctions and “political pressure.” The same day, Sudan, Kuwait and Comoros all offered Saudi Arabia support against the allegations.
Saudi to Trump: We know ‘nothing about it’
Trump spoke to the crown prince and the king, both of whom said they “knew nothing about it,” the president told the Associated Press in an interview on Oct. 16.
Trump said he called both and the crown prince “said very strongly that he and his father knew nothing about it but they are starting a major, they’ve already started a major investigation to find out.”
More: Who is Jamal Khashoggi?
In the same interview, the president appeared to give Saudi officials a bit of leeway saying there should be an investigation before any conclusion.
“Here we go again with, you know, you’re guilty until proven innocent. I don’t like that,” the president said. “We just went through that with Justice Kavanaugh. And he was innocent all the way…We have to find out what happened.”
Trump said an investigation and more information was needed before his administration would get involved, but added “I will say they were very strong in their denial about themselves knowing.”
Saudi Arabia admits Khashoggi died after ‘brawl’
Khashoggi died during a “brawl” inside Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul, Saudi authorities claimed late Friday but did not go into detail about the role of the crown prince and claims that the columnist was dismembered
The announcement, made on state TV and also released via the official Saudi Press Agency, comes more than two weeks after the missing journalist disappeared after entering the diplomatic compound in Turkey.
Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor said 18 Saudi nationals have been arrested in connection with the case. None were identified. It is the first time the kingdom has admitted Khashoggi is dead. The prosecutor said he died as a result of a “quarrel and a brawl,” a characterization that brought immediate condemnation from U.S. lawmakers.
Turkish security officials say they have audio and video evidence indicating he was likely dismembered inside the consulate. Saudi Arabia did not address that allegation in its statement, only saying that the “brawl” led to Khashoggi’s death and a subsequent attempt to conceal and cover it up. It vowed to “hold all those involved in this case accountable and to bring them to justice.”
Contributing: Marina Pitofsky, USA TODAY; Associated Press.
Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2018/10/19/jamal-khashoggi-here-conflicting-statements-saudi-arabia/1701084002/