On Saturday, Saudi Arabia finally admitted the death of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi after entering their consulate in Istanbul.
After around 18 days in which Saudi Arabia denied any involvment in Khashoggi’s disappearance, Saudi Arabia went on Friday to release an official statement admitting he was killed inside the consulate.
In the announcement that was broadcast on the Saudi state TV, the Kingdom asserted Khashoggi died during a “fistfight” with more than a dozen of Saudi officials inside the consulate which resulted in his death. Following his surprising death, officials at the consulate were trying to cover it up.
The Saudi narrative was welcomed among Saudis. However, it was met with scepticism by many who are still waiting for the Turkish investigation results. Turkish leaks from sources involved in the investigation appear to confirm evidence that Khashoggi was killed in a planned execution inside the consulate, and that his body was dismembered.
Translation: “May Khashoggi’s soul rest in peace. By announcing the initial investigation results, Saudi Arabia confirms their stance on justice and that everyone is equal under the law.”
Meanwhile, Saudi public opinion has seen a massive change in opinion before and after the Saudi official statement on Khashoggi’s death.
On the one hand, many were accusing Saudi rivals; mainly Qatar and Iran, for planning the whole Khashoggi story to harm the Saudi image in front of the world. Others were promoting the initial Saudi statement in which they confirmed that Khashoggi left the consulate denying any involvement in his killing.
Translation: “The Saudi regime: Khashoggi left the consulate and we dismiss any false accusations about his killing inside it. The Council of Senior Scholars: We confirm our trust in the Saudi leaders. Saudi Arabia is envied. After 18 days, Saudi Arabia: Honestly, Khashoggi died inside the consulate after a fistfight. The Council of Senior Scholars: This is justice and equality. This is Sharia.”
Many of the most notable Saudi figures defending Saudi Arabia fiercely before the official announcement have quickly changed their tone, such as Turki Al Hamad, a Saudi journalist and writer.
Turki had appeared earlier in a video condemning any accusations that might involve Saudi Arabia in the Khashoggi disappearance and blaming Qatar for killing the Saudi journalist.
Later, few hours after the Saudi official announcement that Khashoggi was killed, Turki posted on Twitter a condolence for Khashoggi’s family praising the Saudi transparency in revealing the truth.
Translation: “My condolences to Khashoggi’s family and all my praise to the Saudi transparency. Wishing this disaster might be the first step in cleaning the Saudi administration from any corrupt who think that authority is his personal right. Corruption is not only in money.”
In addition to many other Saudi prominent figures and journalists who changed their tone clearly in the 18-day period, Saudi Arabia is still looking to provide evidence to support their side of the story.
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