Claims by the government of Saudi Arabia that Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi died in a physical altercation inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul drew immediate skepticism and contradicted earlier dueling accounts from Saudi and Turkish officials.
The Saudi findings, which all but absolved the heir to the throne, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, increased pressure on the Trump administration to mount an independent investigation into Khashoggi’s death.
In a statement issued early Saturday morning in Riyadh, the Saudi capital, the Saudis claimed that some number of unnamed “suspects” had traveled to the consulate to meet with Khashoggi, “as there were indications of the possibility of his returning” to Saudi Arabia. The journalist, a frequent critic of Saudi government policy, had been living in self-imposed exile in Virginia.
“The discussions that took place . . . did not go as required and developed in a negative way,” the statement continued, leading to a “fight and a quarrel” and a “brawl” that led to Khashoggi’s death. The unnamed suspects then attempted “to conceal and cover what happened,” the Saudi government claimed, without elaborating.