Washington: Murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s son has arrived in the US after leaving Riyadh with his family, a source informed CNN on Thursday.
Salah bin Jamal Khashoggi, a dual US-Saudi citizen, had previously been unable to leave Riyadh after his passport was restricted by the kingdom a few months ago.
A State Department spokesman said that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged the Saudis to release the deceased journalist’s son, and that Deputy spokesman Robert Palladino said the US was “pleased” that he was allowed to leave the country.
Salah Khashoggi is the eldest son of The Washington Post columnist who Saudi officials now admit was killed in a pre-meditated murder executed by a squad of men with close ties to the country’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Initially, Saudi Arabia denied all knowledge of Khashoggi’s disappearance inside their consulate in Istanbul on October 2.
Saudi officials later announced that they had identified 18 men involved in the operation, leading the State Department to announce it was freezing visas for 21 Saudi nationals. On Thursday, Palladino said that the additional three people targeted by the US belonged to Saudi Arabia’s intelligence services, royal court and a government ministry.
Salah Khashoggi’s departure came hours after the public prosecutor’s office admitted, based on a report from Turkey, that the killing of the journalist had been planned in advance, adding that those responsible for the crime would be punished.
Turkey said it believed a hit squad of Saudi nationals had travelled to Istanbul with the sole purpose of killing Khashoggi, a former member of the Saudi elite who became critical of the current government’s administration in his country.
On Tuesday, Khashoggi’s body parts were found at a Saudi consul general’s home in Istanbul, reported a UK-based broadcaster. According to Sky News, the 59-year-old Washington Post contributor’s body had been “cut up” and his face “disfigured”, with the remains found in the garden of the consul general’s home.
(With inputs from Agencies)