The sons of murdered dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi have asked for the remains of their father’s body, believing it is the only way to find full closure after weeks of unconfirmed and differing reports of what actually happened to him.
In an interview with CNN in Washington, their first since Khashoggi went missing inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Salah and Abdullah Khashoggi said their father was “courageous, generous and very brave.”
Since Khashoggi was last seen on Oct. 2 entering the consulate, his whereabouts and then murder have been plagued with uncertainty and cover ups, and Khashoggi’s sons say their father’s legacy is being tainted by politics.
“I see a lot of people coming out right now and trying to claim his legacy and unfortunately some of them are using that in a political way that we totally don’t agree with,” Salah said, referring to his father’s label as a dissident journalist for his writings critical of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
“Jamal was a moderate person. He was liked by everybody. He had differences and common values with everyone,” Salah, the eldest brother, added.
Khashoggi’s other son, Abdullah, said his father shouldn’t be labeled a dissident at all. (RELATED: Surveillance Video Shows Man Leaving Consulate In Khashoggi’s Clothes, Turkish Officials Calling It A ‘Body Double’)
“He believed in the monarchy that it is the thing that is keeping the country together. And he believed in the transformation that it is going through,” he said, contrasting reports that Khashoggi moved to Virginia and became a columnist for The Washington Post and “reinvented himself as the crown prince’s most prominent critic in the West.”
“He was a public figure that was liked by everyone else,” Salah said. “You don’t see that much in media, in print media.”
Khashoggi’s sons say their father was planning to move back to Turkey to be closer to his family and grandchildren, attempting to highlight “his gentle, tender side.”
While the whole picture remains unclear and the whereabouts of the journalist’s body is still unknown, recent reports say Khashoggi was strangled immediately upon entering the consulate and was later dismembered with a bone saw, according to Turkish prosecutors.
Turkey and Saudi Arabia have been running a joint investigation into Khashoggi’s death, though Turkish officials claim their Saudi counterparts don’t seem very interested in prosecuting the case, according to The Washington Post.
This latest story conflicts original claims in beginning weeks of the investigation from anonymous Turkish officials that Khashoggi was tortured before being killed in the consulate.
“We have requested information from Saudi officials regarding the whereabouts of Jamal Khashoggi’s body and the identity of the supposed local collaborator,” a Turkish official told CNN on Oct. 31. “We also noted that Saudi Arabia must extradite all 18 suspects to Turkey so that they can be held accountable for what they did.”
In the meantime, Khashoggi’s sons say they’ve placed their faith in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and King Salman specifically, to find the truth about their father’s death.
“The King has stressed that everybody involved will be brought to justice,” Salah said.
“And I have faith in that. This will happen. Otherwise Saudi wouldn’t have started an internal investigation.”
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