RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi prosecutors say the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi was planned, state-run media reported Thursday, reflecting yet another change in the shifting Saudi Arabian account of what happened to the writer who was killed by Saudi officials in their Istanbul consulate.
Saudi Attorney General Saud al-Mojeb said investigators concluded that Khashoggi’s killing was a premeditated crime after reviewing evidence presented by Turkish officials as part of a joint investigation, according to a statement on the state-run Saudi Press Agency.
Saudi Arabia initially insisted Khashoggi had walked out of the consulate after visiting the building on Oct. 2. It later dropped that account for a new one, saying it had detained 18 people for what it said was an accidental killing during a “fistfight.”
Many countries responded to the version of a brawl involving Khashoggi with skepticism and demands for transparency. Turkey has been turning up the pressure on Saudi Arabia, a regional rival, to reveal more about the crime.
The seemingly clumsy cover-up of the killing has been exposed to the world with Turkish leaks of information, security camera footage and, eventually, Saudi acknowledgements that Khashoggi died in the consulate. Key mysteries yet to be explained are suspicions that Saudi Arabia’s crown prince ordered the killing — even though he publicly condemned it — and the whereabouts of the Washington Post columnist’s body.