Senators place blame on Saudi crown prince

Hugh Fox
December 6, 2018

The Saudi ambassador to the United States Khalid bin Salman, brother of the powerful crown prince, has returned to Washington after leaving the U.S. capital in the wake of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, an official said Wednesday. The United Nations human rights chief on Wednesday called for an worldwide investigation to determine who was responsible for the murder of the Saudi journalist in Istanbul two months ago.

Istanbul's top prosecutor issued arrest warrants for two close allies of Saudi Arabia's crown prince on Wednesday, in connection with the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The private NTV broadcaster said the actor has been trying to gather detailed information on the scene to make a documentary about the murder of Khashoggi, a case that has sparked an global outcry.

"The global community seems to doubt Saudi Arabia's commitment to prosecute this heinous crime". Graham and Paul have also said they think Congress should block a pending arms deal with the kingdom.

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Both Republicans and Democrats urged President Donald Trump himself to strongly condemn the killing after he stood by the crown prince. "You want a snapshot of the future, it's that high-five between Putin and MBS [a reference to the crown prince's initials]", he said.

19 Oct Saudi Arabia confirmed that Khashoggi was killed in the Consulate of the country in Istanbul.

At the same time, Turkey outraged by the killing on its soil claimed to have an audio tape of the killing and CCTV footages that in reality, Khashoggi was brutally murdered and the Kingdom preplanned it, which contradicted the Saudi account of an accidental killing.

Speaking on condition of anonymity in line with government protocol, a senior Turkish official familiar with the investigation said the arrest warrants reflect Turkey's view that Saudi Arabia won't hold the suspects accountable.

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The senators spoke to reporters as they left a closed-door briefing for some Senate committee leaders and Senate leaders by Central Intelligence Agency Director Gina Haspel. Pompeo said there was "no direct reporting" connecting the crown prince to the murder, and Mattis said there was "no smoking gun" making the connection. Finally, Saudi Arabia accepted late last month that the killing was premeditated. Qahtani was a key counsellor to the crown prince.

But Asiri, the former deputy head of foreign intelligence, was not on the sanctions list.

The chief prosecutor said in a statement that there is a "strong suspicion that Asiri and al-Qahtani were among planners of Khashoggi's killing", the daily said.

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