In an official statement released by the Saudi Public Prosecution on October 20, Saudi Arabia acknowledged that journalist Jamal Khashoggi had died as a result of a “quarrel and a brawl” with personnel he met inside the Saudi consulate in the Turkish city of Istanbul.
“The Public Prosecutor confirms that its investigations into this case are continuing with the (18) individuals who are all Saudi nationals in preparation for reaching all the facts and declaring them and to hold all those involved in this case accountable and bringing them to justice,” the Saudi Public Prosecution said in the statement, which was released by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
A Saudi official told SPA that after the death of Khashoggi, the personnel involved in the incident made an attempt to conceal and cover what happened. According to the official, the joint Saudi-Turkish security team played a key role in the investigation, which is still ongoing.
Following the announcement, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud released several royal orders, in which he sacked the following senior officials:
– Assistant Chief of the General Intelligence’s Intelligence Affairs, Gen. Mohammad Bin Saleh al-Rumaih;
– Assistant Chief of the General Intelligence’s Human Resources, Maj. Gen. Abdullah bin Khalifa al-Shaya;
– Chief of the General Intelligence’s General Directorate of Security and Protection, Gen. Rashad bin Hamed al-Mehmadi;
– Saud bin Abdullah Al-Qahtani, an advisor at the Royal Court;
– Deputy Chief of the General Intelligence, Ahmed bin Hassan bin Mohammed Asiri.
Furthermore, king Salman ordered the formation of a ministerial committee that will reshape the General Intelligence and update its regulations and powers. The committee will be headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who had been previously accused of ordering the assassination of Khashoggi.
In its first response to the Saudi announcements, the White House said that it will continue to press for “justice that is timely, transparent, and in accordance with all due process.”
The upcoming hours will for sure be decisive for the investigation, and maybe for the future of Mohammed bin Salman himself.