Saudi Arabia has confessed killing dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul and has sacked a top general and arrested several people in this connection. Earlier, there were reports that Riyadh may even replace Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for his brash and volatile behaviour which led to the death of Jamal Khashoggi.
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Saudi Arabia said that the preliminary results of its investigation indicate Khashoggi had been killed in a “fight with people who met him in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.”
According to Saudi state TV, the Kingdom has relieved Ahmad al-Assiri, a top general and close aide to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, from his duties in the General Intelligence.
Saudi Arabian King Salman has also ordered the formation of a ministerial committee with the Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman as head to restructure the General Intelligence Agency.
Reuters quoted a key source with the Saudi investigation of Khashoggi’s death as saying that no orders had been issued to kill or kidnap him, but there is standing order from the General Intelligence Presidency to bring critics back to the kingdom. The source said orders were “aggressively interpreted” and subsequent instructions were “more and more unspecific” resulting in death and attempt to “cover it”.
It also noted that the Saudi consulate driver was among those who handed over the body of the dissident journalist to a “local cooperator”; however, it is not clear what has happened to the body. Sources also claimed bin Salman “had no knowledge of this specific operation”.
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