The sons of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi issued an emotional appeal for the return of their father’s body, in their first interview since he was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul over a month ago.
Speaking to CNN Salah and Abdullah Khashoggi, spoke of their family’s pain and anguish while expressing the family’s wish to bury their father in Al-Baqi cemetery in Medina, Saudi Arabia, with the rest of his family.
The sons, who described their father as “courageous, generous and very brave”, revealed details of the infamous meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, who is widely believed to have ordered the killing of Khashoggi.
“All what we want right now is to bury him in Al-Baqi in Medina with the rest of his family,” Salah, the older of the two sons, said. “I talked about that with the Saudi authorities and I just hope that it happens soon.”
Abdullah described the family’s difficulty in grieving over their father without his body not being found and the changing Saudi authorities’ account of the events leading to his death. The Saudis had initially denied any involvement in Khashoggi’s disappearance, they then admitted that he was killed in a fist-fight after which they said he was killed by rogue Saudi agents.
Members of the UK and US intelligence community as well as Turkish officials however believe that the order to kill the Washington Post journalist came from senior members of the royal family, pointing their finger in particular at the direction of the Crown Prince who is widely known as MBS.
Salah expressed confidence in King Salman saying “the King has stressed that everybody involved will be brought to justice. And [I] have faith in that. This will happen. Otherwise Saudi wouldn’t have started an internal investigation.”
The sons rejected accusations that their father was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. The allegation made by MBS in a call with US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and national security adviser John Bolton. “It’s just labels and people not doing their homework properly, and reading his article and going in depth. It’s easier to stick a label on him,” Abdullah said.
Asked how Khashoggi should be remembered, Salah replied, “as a moderate man who has common values with everyone… a man who loved his country, who believed so much in it and its potential.”
“Jamal was never a dissident. 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.”