Timeline: the murder of Jamal Khashoggi
Over a year after the prominent journalist was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, a Riyadh court sentenced the perpetrators to prison or death. Here is how the investigation unfolded
Fifteen months after former unofficial spokesman turned writer-critic Jamal Khashoggi was murdered as he visited the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in September 2018, five men have been sentenced to death and six others handed lengthy prison sentences.
The case had international repercussions and led to the kingdom overhauling the way intelligence operations were overseen to prevent what they called “rogue operations” like this happening again.
The case began as a disappearance but quickly became a murder investigation, what follows is a timeline of major events in since the day Khashoggi first entered the Saudi mission in Istanbul.
September 28, 2018
Khashoggi visits the consulate of Saudi Arabia in the Turkish city of Istanbul. He is told to return when documents are ready.
October 2, 2018
On his second visit to the consulate, Khashoggi goes missing. His fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, waits outside the consulate for several hours. Later she notifies the police.
October 3, 2018
Saudi government issues a statement confirming that Khashoggi is missing. Says he disappeared after leaving the consulate the day before and that the kingdom was working with Turkish authorities to find him.
October 5, 2018
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in an interview with Bloomberg, says that if Khashoggi was in Riyadh then he would have been aware.
October 6, 2018
Reuters news agency is given a tour of the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, with officials stating that Khashoggi is not being detained there. Later that day, Turkish prosecutors say they have opened an investigation. Saudi officials deny what they say are “baseless allegations” that Khashoggi was killed in the consulate. Read more
October 10, 2018
US President Donald Trump says America is “demanding” answers from Saudi Arabia. Read more
October 11, 2018
Turkish and Saudi authorities announce a joint investigation and Mr Trump says the US too will investigate.
October 15, 2018
Turkish officials search the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Read more
October 18, 2018
Turkish investigators enter the Saudi consulate general’s residence in Istanbul to conduct a search. Police also comb an area of woodland outside the city. Read more
October 19, 2018
Saudi authorities announce Khashoggi is dead after a fistfight with Saudi officials in the consulate. Several officials, including adviser to the crown prince, Saud Al Qahtani, and intelligence official Gen Ahmed Al Assiri are dismissed. Read more
October 23, 2018
King Salman and Prince Mohammed meet Khashoggi’s sons, Salah and Sahel, at the Yamama Palace in Riyadh. Read more
After promising to expose the “naked truth” about the death of Khashoggi, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gives a weekly parliamentary address and says Ankara should take full control of the criminal investigation, but gives little new information. Read more
October 24, 2018
Prince Mohammed says Khashoggi killing is "a heinous crime that cannot be justified".
"The crime was really painful to all Saudis and I believe it is painful to every human in the world." He announced a reform of the country's national security institutions and promised to co-operate with Turkey in the investigation into the killing of Khashoggi. Read more
November 15, 2018
Saudi prosecutors announce charges against 11 nationals for the murder of Khashoggi after a “rogue operation” led by Al Assiri and Al Qahtani. Prosecutors sought the death penalty for five of the co-conspirators for "ordering and executing the crime".
The Saudi Prosecutors office says that shortly after Khashoggi entered the consulate in Istanbul, he was bound and injected with a sedative that resulted in his death.
The prosecutors then said his body was dismembered, removed from the consulate by the co-conspirators and given to a local collaborator for disposal. They again said that senior officials had no knowledge of the operation. Read more
November 16, 2018
Friends and family of Khashoggi gather for a funeral in Istanbul’s Fatih Mosque. Read more
November 17, 2018
Mr Trump says it is “too early” to say a CIA investigation implicated senior Saudi officials in the killing.
November 28, 2018
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary James Mattis say that CIA investigation does not implicate senior royals.
“There is no direct reporting connecting the crown prince to the order to murder Jamal Khashoggi," Mr Pompeo says.
Mr Mattis says that: "We have no smoking gun that the crown prince was involved. Not the intelligence community or anyone else." Read more
December 21, 2018
Saudi Arabia announces the formation of three new bodies to oversee intelligence processes in response to what officials said was a “rogue operation” to kill Khashoggi.
King Salman also ordered a restructuring of the main intelligence agency under the supervision of Prince Mohammed.
The three bodies aim to ensure intelligence operations are in line with the national security policy, international human rights law and "approved procedures", the official Saudi Press Agency said. Read more
January 3, 2019
Eleven suspects accused of killing Khashoggi appear in court in Riyadh for the first time, with prosecutors seeking the death penalty for five members of the conspiracy. Read more
February 8, 2019
Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al Jubeir calls the killing of Khashoggi a “huge mistake”.
“We know this was not authorised operation. It is a horrific crime and the whole country is outraged by this crime,” he said. Read more
April 10, 2019
Khashoggi’s son, Salah, says that the perpetrators of the killing will be brought to justice by Saudi leadership.
Salah issued a statement on behalf of the family on his personal Twitter account, describing his father as “a respectable journalist and a patriotic Saudi citizen”.
“Currently the trial is taking place and no settlement discussion had been or is discussed. The people who committed and were involved in this crime will be brought to justice and face punishment,” he said. Read more
September 29, 2019
Prince Mohammed gives an interview on CBS's 60 Minutes and denies any prior knowledge of the killing, but says he bears responsibility because the incident took place under his watch. He insists that: “Once charges are proven against someone, regardless of their rank, it will be taken to court, no exceptions made.” Read more
October 2, 2019
Officials disclose that there had been eight court hearings between January 3 and October 2 in the cases against the 11 accused of killing Khashoggi. Read more
December 23, 2019
A court in Riyadh sentences five co-conspirators to death for the killing of Khashoggi. Three others are sentenced to 24 years in prison for covering up the crime and “violating the law”. Read more
Updated: January 24, 2020 01:10 AM