Journalist death remains a mystery

Photo courtesy of Getty Images | The Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul. The U.S. State Department has revoked 21 visas of Saudi nationals in retaliation over the death of the journalist.

Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post journalist, was murdered in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. Khashoggi was a Saudi Arabian citizen with a permanent U.S. residence in Virginia. Khashoggi was known for often writing critically of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the heir to the Saudi throne.

International leaders, including Justin Trudeau of Canada and Angela Merkel of Germany, criticized the Saudi Arabian government, specifically Prince Salman, for its alleged culpability in the slaying.

“It seems shady how close (Prince Salman) was to the killing,” sophomore Christian Dean said. “It’s tough to say what will happen, but I think something should be done. However, it’s hard to say how it will affect the American economy.”

The United States has a $110 billion arms sale planned with Saudi Arabia. President Donald Trump threatened the Saudis with “severe consequences” last Thursday should it be found that they had knowledge of or ordered the execution.

The Trump administration followed up on that threat on Tuesday by revoking the visas of 21 Saudis involved in the murder. Most already had visas, and those who didn’t are now ineligible to apply for one.

“These penalties will not be the last word on this matter from the United States,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said. “We will continue to explore additional measures to hold those responsible accountable.”

Trump has expressed that he would rather avoid canceling the arms sale instead of imposing consequences.

“What good would that do us? There are other things we can do,” Trump said.

The official position of the Saudi government for two weeks after Khashoggi’s disappearance was that they did not know his whereabouts and that he had left the consulate shortly after entering to obtain marriage documentation.

As international pressure mounted, however, the Saudi government changed its position and admitted that Khashoggi died shortly after entering the consulate. They initially claimed his death was carried out by rogue killers and not under the order of Prince Salman or any other Saudi official.

Saudi Arabia has since dismissed two high-ranking officials, one a two-star general, and arrested 18 men in connection to the murder.

The night prior to the murder, 15 Saudi nationals arrived in Istanbul at 3 a.m. via private jet.

Nine men had backgrounds in military or police training, one was an expert in mobile autopsies and two men had been photographed on multiple occasions as bodyguards of Prince Salman. These men are suspected as being responsible for the torture, murder and disposal of Khashoggi’s body.

The latest account by the Saudi government is that Khashoggi died after a fist fight in the consulate.

This explanation has done little to settle international outrage, with multiple multinational companies pulling out of the international business conference known as the “Davos in the Desert” hosted by Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia has yet to explain what became of the body, why they attempted to cover up the slaying, how the situation inside the consulate could have escalated to such an extent and whether Prince Salman was involved or had prior knowledge of the crime.

Trump initially held that he found the Saudi explanation to be credible but has since changed tone. Trump stated in the Oval Office on Tuesday that the Saudis “Had a very bad original concept. It was carried out poorly, and the cover-up was one of the worst in the history of cover -ups.”

Trump went on to say that there are currently U.S. intelligence officials in Turkey investigating the murder. Saudi Arabia has requested one month from the international community in order to investigate the murder in additional depth.

By: Devin Luginbill | Staff Writer