Saudi Arabia claims Khashoggi was killed in a fight, contrary to additional accounts

The kingdom also fired Deputy Chief of General Intelligence Ahmad bin Hassan Asiri in addition to royal court advisor Abdullah Al-Qahtani. The kingdom also said a committee would likely be formed to restructure its intelligence agency under the supervision of Prince Mohammed, “to modernize its regulations in addition to define its powers precisely.”

On Thursday, The brand-new York Times reported that will Saudi officials close to the crown prince planned on blaming Asiri for Khashoggi’s death. The Times said by generating Asiri a scapegoat, the government could help shield the crown prince through blame.

Through its state press, the kingdom said This specific has detained 18 Saudi nationals after preliminary investigations linked them to the case.

Saudi Arabia said This specific “is usually taking the necessary measures to clarify the circumstances within the case of Saudi citizen Jamal Khashoggi” in addition to that will “all those involved will be brought to justice.”

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders issued the following statement:

“The United States acknowledges the announcement through the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that will its investigation into the fate of Jamal Khashoggi is usually progressing in addition to that will This specific has taken action against the suspects This specific has identified thus far. We will continue to closely follow the international investigations into This specific tragic incident in addition to advocate for justice that will is usually timely, transparent, in addition to in accordance with all due process. We are saddened to hear confirmation of Mr. Khashoggi’s death, in addition to we offer our deepest condolences to his family, fiancée, in addition to friends.”

within the weeks following Khashoggi’s disappearance, the international community increasingly pressed Saudi Arabia for the dissident’s whereabouts. U.S. President Donald Trump also faced mounting criticism for being too soft in his response. On Thursday, Trump acknowledged Khashoggi was likely dead in addition to said he would likely consider “very severe consequences” if Saudi Arabia is usually found responsible.

nevertheless Trump’s resistance to act swiftly sparked comparisons to how he has spoken deferentially about additional autocratic leaders accused of human rights abuses, such as Russia’s Vladimir Putin in addition to North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. On Tuesday, the president told The Associated Press that will he saw a case of “you’re guilty until proven innocent.”

Trump on Friday called the arrests a “not bad first step.” Yet he also mentioned that will he would likely be reluctant to undo arms deals with the kingdom if the U.S. were to slap Saudi Arabia with sanctions over Khashoggi’s death.

Vice President Mike Pence said that will the U.S. will not “solely rely” on information provided by Saudi Arabia, a longtime U.S. ally within the Middle East.

Several members of Congress have called for swift sanctions on oil-rich Saudi Arabia within the uproar over Khashoggi. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., quickly expressed his doubts about the Saudi account of the journalist’s death, saying “This specific’s hard to find This specific latest ‘explanation’ as credible.”

The announcement comes more than two weeks after Khashoggi was last seen in public, entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Khashoggi was a frequent critic of Saudi Arabia’s royal family in addition to wrote columns for The Washington Post.

In his last column for the Post, Khashoggi highlighted the need for independent in addition to free press in Arab nations. He said the international community had turned a blind eye to the increasing rate at which Arab governments were silencing the press.

“These actions no longer carry the consequence of a backlash through the international community. Instead, these actions may trigger condemnation quickly followed by silence,” Khashoggi wrote.

— CNBC’s Jacob Pramuk, Christina Wilkie in addition to Kevin Breuninger contributed to This specific report.

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