U.S. urges return of Khashoggi's remains to family

Perspectives Leon Levy

Khashoggi's friends and family say they want just a piece of his body so they can carry out his wish to be buried in the city of Medina, Islam's second holiest site. "It would affect the entire region".

Several members of the delegation, which met with Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed in the United Arab Emirates earlier in the week, have also advised US President Donald Trump on faith issues. "The president said we will demand accountability for those who were involved in the commission of this heinous crime".

The New York Times, Reuters and the Financial Times reported that the prince's return had sparked speculation about his role in the kingdom's crisis management efforts following the worldwide outcry over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Instead, it said, the Saudis on Wednesday invited the Turkish prosecutor and his delegation to Saudi Arabia jointly to question the suspects held there about what happened to Khashoggi's body and whether his death was premeditated.

The journalist's family told the Post in response: "Jamal Khashoggi was not a member of the Muslim Brotherhood". Turkey maintains that Saudi officials have information on those responsible for the murder and the whereabouts of Khashoggi's remains.

"We were pleased by the invitation extended to us more than two months ago by the kingdom of Saudi Arabia", the delegation said in a statement.

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A Saudi official on Wednesday denied the allegations that the crown prince made any such comments, the Post reported, saying "routine calls do exist from time to time".

Mr Khashoggi was a Saudi reporter in self-exile in Turkey and a prominent critic of the Saudi regime.

Turkish officials said chief prosecutor Irfan Fidan failed to get answers about the location of Khashoggi's body and who ordered his killing during three days of a joint Turkish-Saudi investigation in Istanbul.

The claim echoed what a Turkish official had told the Washington Post - for which Khashoggi was a contributor - that authorities are investigating a theory the body was destroyed in acid.

Salman's alleged claims run counter however to public statements later made by the Saudi government, lamenting Khashoggi's death as a "terrible mistake".

After Saudi Arabia admitted that Khashoggi was killed in its Istanbul consulate, five high-ranking officials were dismissed, including bin Salman's media chief and the deputy head of the Saudi intelligence service.

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