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Jamal Khashoggi death: World responds to Saudi Arabia’s admission journalist was killed inside Istanbul consulate

Tom Barnes,Chris Baynes
Sunday 21 October 2018 16:59
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Trump says arrests in Saudi writer's death 'big step'

The UK, France and Germany have demanded "credible facts" from Saudi Arabia after the kingdom admitted dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside its Istanbul consulate.

Riyadh has claimed the Washington Post reporter died in a “brawl” at the building, a version of events that has been widely disputed.

Saudi authorities are facing increasing international pressure to explain what happened after Khashoggi entered the consulate on 2 October, with US politicians calling for the kingdom to face sanctions and directly accusing Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of ordering his murder.

Here's how we covered events as they unfolded:

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Turkish authorities investigating Khashoggi’s death suspect the journalist was tortured and then murdered by a team of hit men before his body was cut up and disposed of.

An anonymous Saudi official has claimed Riyadh was trying to convince Khashoggi to return to his homeland by offering him a lucrative job as incentive to stop his criticism of the regime.

He then suggested the situation escalated into a fight, which ended in the reporter’s death.

Jamal Khashoggi: Everything we know

However, this account has been disputed, with questions raised over why a doctor reported to be an expert in forensic medicine was among the 15 men thought to have confronted Khashoggi.

Donald Trump, who initially said he believed the Saudi account, has now said the US wants to get to the bottom of what took place inside the consulate.

In Europe, German chancellor Angela Merkel has described the Saudi explanation of Khashoggi’s death as “inadequate”, while her foreign minister has said Berlin will reassess its arms sales to the kingdom.

Britain said on Saturday it was examining its “next steps” after Riyadh announced confirmation of the journalist’s death.

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Welcome to live updates from The Independent as we follow the latest reactions across the world to the killing of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul.

Tom Barnes21 October 2018 11:29
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An outspoken critic of the regime in his homeland, who has become a global symbol of press freedom, Jamal Khashoggi was killed after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October.

His obituary can be found here: 

Tom Barnes21 October 2018 11:43
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US treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin has said on Sunday it was premature to comment on possible sanctions against Saudi Arabia until an investigation into Khashoggi’s death had been completed.

Speaking to reporters in Jerusalem, Mr Mnuchin said information emerging so far was “a good first step but not enough” as Riyadh faces increasing international pressure to disclose what took place inside the consulate.

“It would be premature to comment on sanctions and premature to comment on really any issues until we get further down the investigation and get to the bottom of what occurred,” he said.

Tom Barnes21 October 2018 11:57
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French finance minister Bruno Le Maire said Saudi Arabia’s admission Khashoggi was killed at the consulate was “progress”, but urged the need for full and transparent investigation.

“I note that the Saudi authorities have changed tack, admitted the facts and accepted some responsibility, so we're making progress,” Mr Le Maire said on France 3 television on Sunday.

“But full light needs to be shed.”

How bilateral relations continue will “depend on the way the truth is aired, the investigation conducted and the results established,” he said.

“If they continue in this direction by establishing the truth with a full investigation, I believe we can maintain our strong strategic relationship with Saudi Arabia,” Mr Le Maire added.

“If that doesn't happen, nobody will understand - neither France nor the European Union nor the United States. Saudi Arabia is a strategic partner, but we can't have a trusting relationship that isn't grounded in truth.”

Tom Barnes21 October 2018 12:32
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The UK’s Brexit secretary, Dominic Raab, has said Saudi Arabia’s explanation of the Khashoggi killing is not credible, but admitted Britain is not prepared to sever ties with Riyadh over the affair.

Speaking on The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, Mr Raab said the incident was a “terrible case” but the UK government was “not throwing our hands in the air” because thousands of jobs depended on relations with the kingdom.

The government has come under pressure to halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia, but Mr Raab insisted the UK's export regime was “one of the most rigorous” in the world.

“The problem with Labour's position is it would cost thousands of British jobs. So, what we would rather do is support the investigation, find out what happened,” he said.

Tom Barnes21 October 2018 12:53
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Jamal Khashoggi was at the heart of an “online army” of Saudi activists fighting a misinformation cyberwar, according to friends who fear he may have been targeted because of his support. 

Tom Barnes21 October 2018 13:17
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Yesterday, the UK Foreign Office said it was considering its “next steps” after Saudi Arabia admitted Khashoggi died inside its Istanbul consulate.

However, several Labour frontbenchers have called for the UK to take action against the kingdom in response to the killing, including a ban on arms sales.

Tom Barnes21 October 2018 13:50
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The SNP has organised a cross-party letter demanding foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt take action against Saudi Arabia over the Khashoggi affair.

The letter accuses the Saudi regime of a string of “atrocities”, including the suspected murder of Khashoggi, the imprisoning of human rights activists and the oppression of LGBT+ people.

“Given the repeated nature of these violations and atrocities, it is now hard to imagine what crime the Saudi Government would need to commit in order for the UK Government to condemn them,” the letter says.

“It cannot be business as usual with a regime that displays blatant contempt and disregard for international law and human rights.

“The consistent inaction of your Government is utterly incompatible with our most basic values as a democracy.

“We regard it as unacceptable that the UK Government not only remains silent, but actively enables this Saudi regime.”

The letter has been signed by the Scottish nationalists’ foreign affairs spokesperson, Stephen Gethins, Labour’s shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry, Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesperson Chrstine Jardine, Green Party MP Caroline Lucas and Plaid Cymru MP Jonathan Edwards.

Tom Barnes21 October 2018 14:20
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Donald Trump has now joined European leaders in calling for answers from Saudi Arabia in relation to the death of Jamal Khashoggi. 

The US president initially said he believed the kingdom's version of events, while officials were still denying the journalist had been killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

But, Mr Trump now says he is unsatisfied with action taken so far by Riyadh and wants establish what took place inside the building in the lead-up to Khashoggi's death.

Tom Barnes21 October 2018 14:42
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Saudi Arabia’s neighbour, Oman, has “welcomed” the kingdom’s decisions “on the regrettable incident” that led to the death of Jamal Khashoggi, according to its state news agency ONA.

“The sultanate welcome decisions taken by the kingdom in this regard, insists on the importance to allow justice to take its course, away from any interpretation,” a statement from the Gulf state's foreign ministry said.

Tom Barnes21 October 2018 15:03

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