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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 21 November 2018

Khashoggi's sons say they have no answers on his murder

Salah and Abdullah also plead for their father's body to be found and buried in Madinah

King Salman speaks to Salah, son of Jamal Khashoggi, as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman looks on in Riyadh on October 23, 2018. Saudi Press Agency via AP
King Salman speaks to Salah, son of Jamal Khashoggi, as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman looks on in Riyadh on October 23, 2018. Saudi Press Agency via AP

Speaking publicly for the first time since leaving Saudi Arabia, the two sons of murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi said they did not have any answers on their father’s killing last month.

Salah Khashoggi, 35, said he relied on news reports for updates about the investigation into his father's death.

"Our source is the same source that you have,” he told CNN’s Nic Robertson during an interview in Washington on Sunday. “It is a mystery. This is putting a lot of burden on us — all of us. That everybody is seeking for information just as we do. They think that we have answers, and unfortunately we don't."

Khashoggi was a former insider in Saudi royal circles who went into self-imposed exile in the US last year. He was killed after entering the Saudi consulate on October 2 for paperwork to marry his Turkish fiance. His body has yet to be recovered.

When asked what he thought really happened to his father, Salah said he was waiting for investigations to conclude. “I know that he is dead. All I’m waiting for is for the investigation to be over so the facts can turn out.”

Abdullah, the younger sibling and the last of Khashoggi’s children to see his father, said information about what happened inside the Saudi consulate remains vague. “Everyone is saying a different story,” he said, referring to media reports and claims circulating on social media networks.

"We're looking at the media and the misinformation … we're trying to get the story — bits and pieces of the story to complete the whole picture. It's confusing and difficult. It's not a normal situation and not a normal death," he told CNN.

Saudi Arabia has said Khashoggi was murdered in a rogue operation carried out without the knowledge of the country's leaders. Six Saudi officials have been dismissed and 18 people arrested in connection with the killing, which Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman denounced as "repulsive".

In a meeting with King Salman and the crown prince last month, the former promised Salah that everyone proven to be involved in the murder would be brought to justice. “I have faith in that. This will happen,” Salah said.

Khasoggi’s sons also issued an appeal for the return of their father’s body.

"All what we want right now is to bury him in Al Baqi [cemetery] in Madinah with the rest of his family," Salah said.

"I talked about that with the Saudi authorities and I just hope that it happens soon."

Saudi officials say they do not know the whereabouts of his body, but that it was dumped with the help of a local collaborator, whose identity they have yet to disclose.

Turkey’s chief prosecutor said last week that Khashoggi's body was dismembered after he was strangled. On Monday Turkey’s vice president said investigators should look into a theory that the body was dissolved in acid.

The murder has strained Saudi Arabia's ties with the United States and other western allies. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said last week that the order to kill Khashoggi came from "the highest levels" of the Saudi government.

However, Saudi Arabia's Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a billionaire businessman, said on Sunday that an official investigation into the death would exonerate the country's leadership.

"I ask Saudi Arabia now publicly, through your programme, to have the investigation made public as soon as possible," Prince Alwaleed said on Fox News.

"I believe the Saudi crown prince will be 100 per cent vindicated and exonerated."

Prince Alwaleed was detained last year along with dozens of other Saudi businessmen, royals and officials in what officials said was part of a campaign to crack down on corruption. He was released in January and told Fox News on Sunday that his detention was "forgiven and forgotten".

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Read more:

Erdogan blames Saudi officials for Khashoggi killing

Killing of Jamal Khashoggi is like killing all of humanity says former Saudi ambassador to US

Turkish prosecutor: Jamal Khashoggi killing premeditated

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