Jamal Khashoggi death: Saudi explanation ‘not credible’

Dissident Ayman Nour, second left, and Turan Kislakci, right, of the Turkish-Arab media association, talk to reporters about the disappearance. Picture: AP
Dissident Ayman Nour, second left, and Turan Kislakci, right, of the Turkish-Arab media association, talk to reporters about the disappearance. Picture: AP
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The UK, France and Germany have denounced writer Jamal Khashoggi’s killing, demanding urgent clarification from Saudi Arabia over his death.

A joint statement said the explanation that Mr Khashoggi died after a “fist fight” in the consulate in Istanbul needed “to be backed by facts to be considered credible”.

The Gulf kingdom admitted on Friday that Jamal Khashoggi was killed at its Istanbul consulate but claimed he died after a fight broke out.

President Donald Trump earlier said he was “not satisfied” with the account and Turkey’s president yesterday vowed to reveal the truth about the death.

In a joint statement, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian and Germany’s Heiko Maas called for “credible facts” about what happened to Mr Khashoggi.

They said: “Nothing can justify this killing and we condemn it in the strongest possible terms.

“Defending freedom of expression and a free press are key priorities for Germany, the United Kingdom and France.

“The threatening, attacking or killing of journalists, under any circumstances, is unacceptable and of utmost concern to our three nations.”

The foreign ministers added: “We take note of the Saudi statement which gives their preliminary findings.

“Yet there remains an urgent need for clarification of exactly what happened on October 2 – beyond the hypotheses that have been raised so far in the Saudi investigation, which need to be backed by facts to be considered credible.

“We thus stress that more efforts are needed and expected towards establishing the truth in a comprehensive, transparent and credible manner.

“We will ultimately make our judgment based on the credibility of the further explanation we receive about what happened and our confidence that such a shameful event cannot and will not ever be repeated.

“We therefore ask for the investigation to be carried out thoroughly until responsibilities are clearly established and that there is proper accountability and due process for any crimes committed.”

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan said yesterday that he will “go into detail” about the Khashoggi case.

Pro-government media groups in Turkey have reported that a Saudi “hit squad” of 15 people travelled to Turkey to kill the columnist for the Washington Post before leaving the country hours later in private jets.

“Why did these 15 people come here? Why were 18 people arrested?

“All of this needs to be explained in all its details,” the Turkish president said.