The sons of slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi spoke out for the first time since his murder at the Saudi consulate last month, calling their father “courageous, generous and very brave,” and issuing an emotional plea for the return of their father’s remains.
Salah Khashoggi, 35, a dual US-Saudi citizen, and his brother Abdullah, 33, who lives in the United Arab Emirates, spoke to CNN in an interview which aired Sunday and described weeks of uncertainty following their father’s disappearance on October 2.
“I really hope that whatever happened wasn’t painful for him, or it was quick. Or he had a peaceful death,” Abdullah said.
Istanbul’s chief prosecutor last week said for the first time publicly that Khashoggi was strangled shortly after he entered the consulate and that his body was later dismembered. They still have not recovered his remains.
Without his body, the family cannot conduct a proper burial or move past the horrific murder.
“All what we want right now is to bury him in Al-Baqi (cemetery) in Medina (Saudi Arabia) with the rest of his family,” Salah said. “I talked about that with the Saudi authorities and I just hope that it happens soon.”
Where is Khashoggi’s body?
shifting its version of events, first denying any knowledge of Khashoggi’s whereabouts, and then acknowledging his death 17 days later.
Washington Post, Turkish officials are pursuing a theory that the 59-year-old’s body was dissolved in acid after his killing at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul or at the nearby consul general’s home.
According to the report, authorities found biological evidence in the consulate garden that supported the theory.
“Khashoggi’s body was not in need of burying,” the official said, according to The Post.
Earlier theories floated that Khashoggi’s body was wrapped up in some kind of fabric and given to a local Turkish co-conspirator.
On Sunday, a report by a Turkish pro-government newspaper said that Khashoggi’s body was dismembered and put into five suitcases after he was strangled in Istanbul.
Khashoggi’s sons say they want to defend their father’s honor
On Sunday, Khashoggi’s sons said they were disturbed by the depiction of their father following his death, and say he has been misrepresented for political reasons.
“I see a lot of people coming out right now and trying to claim his legacy and unfortunately some of them are using that in a political way that we totally don’t agree with,” Salah said.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman reportedly told White House adviser Jared Kushner and National Security Adviser John Bolton that Khashoggi was a “dangerous Islamist” during a phone call just days after the Saudi journalist went missing. And some US conservatives attempted to label him an extremist due to an interview he conducted with late Al Qaeda head Osama bin Laden early in his career as well as his expressed sympathies for political Islam.
“Jamal was a moderate person. He was liked by everybody. He had differences and common values with everyone,” he added, describing his father as “amazing,” and genuine.
“People are throwing analysis that may direct us away from the truth.”
Salah, the eldest sibling, said they are receiving updates on the parallel investigations into their father’s killing through the media.
“Our source is the same source that you have. It is a mystery,” he said. “This is putting a lot of burden on us — all of us. That everybody is seeking for information just as we do. They think that we have answers, and unfortunately we don’t,” Salah said.
“It’s confusing and difficult,” Abdullah said. “It’s not a normal situation and not a normal death.”
Still, the brothers expressed confidence in the Saudi King. “The King has stressed that everybody involved will be brought to justice, Salah said. “And I have faith in that.”