by Kelly Martella ’21
On Oct. 2, Jamal Khashoggi went missing after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain a legal document.
Suspicions began to rise around the world in the following weeks, and it became an international affair.
Although he was a Saudi citizen, Khashoggi was living in the United States with plans to marry his Turkish fiancée. He also was a columnist for the Washington Post, in which he frequently spoke against Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Turkish officials soon said they had concluded that Khashoggi was killed by Saudi agents. They also said their belief was backed up with proof, including audio recordings.
On Oct. 20, Saudi Arabia confirmed Khashoggi’s death, saying it was the result of a fist fight that occurred in the embassy. The country also said that 18 Saudis had been arrested and five senior officials were fired at this point in their investigation.
The statement ended by saying: “the Kingdom expresses its deep regret at the painful developments that have taken place and stresses the commitment of the authorities in the Kingdom to bring the facts to the public opinion, to hold all those involved accountable and bring them to justice by referring them to the competent courts in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
The Saudi story immediately raised doubts around the world, with many questioning its credibility and calling it a cover-up.
President Trump called the Saudi arrests a “good first step,” but stated, “Obviously there’s been deception, and there’s been lies.”
In Congress, members of both parties have expressed harsh criticism. Many are calling for action, a sentiment Senator Rand Paul expressed in an opinion piece for Fox News, saying “now is the time for bipartisan corrective action.”
Similar calls for justice have been made internationally.
In a joint statement, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany said, “We will ultimately make our judgement 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.”
Many questions remain about the circumstances of Khashoggi’s death.
Investigations are still ongoing, and more answers are expected in the coming days.