A man walks past Saudi Arabia’s consul general’s official residence in Istanbul, Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Changing story again, Saudi Arabia says killing was planned

“Jamal Khashoggi’s body still hasn’t been found. Where is it?” Turkey’s foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, said

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.”

RELATED: Canada condemns killing of journalist in Saudi Arabia consulate

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 coverup 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.

“Jamal Khashoggi’s body still hasn’t been found. Where is it?” Turkey’s foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, said Thursday at a news conference with his Palestinian counterpart.

RELATED: TRUMP – Saudi king ‘firmly denies’ any role in Khashoggi mystery

“There is a crime here, but there is also a humanitarian situation. The family wants to know and they want to perform their last duty,” Cavusoglu said, referring to hopes for the writer’s burial.

Turkish authorities briefed visiting CIA chief Gina Haspel on the investigation into the killing and the evidence they have, a Turkish security official who was not authorized to speak to the media said on condition of anonymity. The official could not confirm whether Haspel had listened to an alleged audio recording of the killing. Pro-government media in Turkey reported officials have such a recording, but its existence has not been confirmed.

On Thursday, conflicting reports surfaced about whether investigators had searched a well in the garden of Saudi Arabia’s consulate as part of their probe.

Investigators emptied the well and are awaiting the results of an analysis of the water to determine whether body parts were dumped there, according to Yeni Safak, a pro-government Turkish newspaper. But Sabah, another pro-government newspaper that has published leaks about the case from Turkish officials, said Saudi Arabia has yet to give Turkish authorities permission for a search.

RELATED: Cancelling Saudi Arabia arms deal would cost $1 billion – Trudeau

Turkish media have also published a security camera image allegedly showing a vehicle belonging to the Saudi Consulate “scouting” a forest in the outskirts of Istanbul before Khashoggi was killed. The image, obtained by state television TRT and other media on Wednesday, shows a black car with a diplomatic license plate at an entrance to Belgrade Forest.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said Saudi officials made “reconnaissance” trips to the forest as well as the city of Yalova a day before Khashoggi was killed. Turkish officials have told The Associated Press that investigators were looking into the possibility that the journalist’s remains may have been hidden at those two locations.

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Nanaimo baseball team builds practice facility inside recycling depot

Mid Island Pirates held first training session inside Regional Recycling on Tuesday

Regional District of Nanaimo committee chairs appointed

Coun. Ben Geselbracht to chair RDN solid waste management committee

Cedar Yellow Point Artisan Tour marks 30 years of handmade art

Around 20 artists and artisans south of Nanaimo to open their studio doors

Fired Nanaimo CAO’s peace bond hearing won’t be until the new year

Tracy Samra’s three-day hearing scheduled for March 27 in B.C. provincial court in Nanaimo

Nanaimo actress wins two Joey Awards for young Canadian actors

Hannah Zirke, 13, won for her TV roles in ‘When Calls the Heart’ and ‘Sacred Lies’

Family-friendly production of ‘A Christmas Carol’ comes to Nanaimo

Local playwright describes adaptation as ‘less Alastair Sim, more Muppet’

UPDATE: Nanaimo RCMP look for tips about suspected poppy donation thief

Police have released images of a man suspected of stealing poppy donation cans

Regional District of Nanaimo to review water infrastructure

Region to make assessments of each of its water service areas

Trial: Witness describes encounter with accused murderer while tending to fatally injured Descoteau

Wright said he was working in his yard when he heard a woman screaming.

Former NHL player and coach Dan Maloney dies at 68

Maloney coached the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets

Ex-MSU president charged with lying to police about Nassar

Lou Anna Simon was charged Tuesday with lying to police during an investigation

Police aim to prevent retaliation after Hells Angel found dead under B.C. bridge

IHIT confirms Chad Wilson, 43, was the victim of a ‘targeted’ homicide

Otter makes a snack out of koi fish in Vancouver Chinese garden

Staff say the otter has eaten at least five fish

Police looking into two more incidents at private Toronto all-boys’ school

Police and the school have said two of the prior incidents involved an alleged sexual assault

Most Read