Saudi Arabia admits to premeditated murder of journalist

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Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi-Arabian journalist living in the U.S., was abducted and murdered in Istanbul for his critiques of the Saudi-Arabian regime on Oct. 2. Khashoggi visited the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey to get an official divorce certificate so he could legally marry his new Turkish fiancée. When he arrived in Turkey on Sept. 28, the journalist was turned away and told to return four days later. Once he returned, Khashoggi was strangled and dismembered by a 15 member killing team, which fled the area, leaving no witnesses behind.

Saudi-Arabia’s dictatorship has a reputation for limiting freedom of speech regarding criticism of the country. In the past, they have abducted critics and brought them back to Saudi-Arabia. This case is unique because of Khashoggi’s influence. A columnist for The Washington Post, Khashoggi often promoted the idea of democracy in the Middle East, making him a target for the Saudi government.

The U.S. debated how to react to the situation. Congress threatened to stop all weapon sales to Saudi-Arabia if they were found guilty of the crime. President Trump said he wanted to believe that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman was not involved in Khashoggi’s murder.

“[Saudi Arabia has] been a very good ally,” Trump said to the Wall Street Journal on Oct. 23. “They’ve been a tremendous investor in our military equipment and other things. They buy tremendous amounts of things from our country. It probably amounts to millions of jobs…so I certainly want to believe him.”

After an Oct. 25 leaked news story discussing the events, Saudi Arabia admitted that Khashoggi’s abduction and strangulation was part of a premeditated plan. Since the confession, five high-ranking officials were dismissed and 18 people were arrested.

¨It’s not a death, it’s a murder,” Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Faith said to a CNN official. “We admit it, we’re dealing with it. As such, we will be transparent and show our allies and friends in the United States…the kingdom is as unhappy about what has happened as anybody else. In fact, we are more unhappy because it has tarnished the name of the kingdom.”