Saudi state media reported today that journalist Jamal Khashoggi died inside its Turkish consulate. It is the first time the Gulf kingdom has acknowledged the regime critic’s death.
The report said that Khashoggi died in a fight at the consulate. The deputy chief of Saudi intelligence Ahmed El Asiri and royal court advisor Abdullah al-Qahtani have been fired and 18 Saudi citizens arrested over the Washington Post contributor’s death..
Reports had suggested that crown prince Mohamad bin Salman would make Qahtani a scapegoat for the affair, which has seen the country’s international standing plummet.
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has begun to assert himself in the scandal’s wake, Reuters reports. Today, the king reportedly ordered the Saudi intelligence agency to be restructured, issuing a one-month deadline to the restructuring oversight committee, headed by the crown prince.
Khashoggi was a US resident and “O” visa holder. He disappeared after entering a Saudi embassy in Istanbul two weeks ago. Turkish authorities first alerted the international community to his absence, with allegations that the Saudi government had planned Khashoggi’s torture and murder.