The Saudi prosecutor said on Friday that an investigation showed the death of Saudi national Jamal Khashoggi was a result of a physical altercation at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul two weeks ago.
There are now 18 suspects, all of Saudi nationality, currently in custody and accused of attempting to cover up the death.
According to initial Saudi investigations, the defendants tried to conceal Khashoggi's death inside the consulate after a fight, during their attempt to “persuade him to return home.”
They then tried to cover up the crime and denied Khashoggi's presence inside the consulate.
They informed Saudi authorities in Riyadh that Khashoggi had “safely left the consulate” to protect themselves.
A source close to the Saudi investigation into Khashoggi's death confirmed that Maher Mutreb, a colonel in Saudi intelligence, was chosen for the operation because he had worked with Khashoggi in London.
The same source familiar with the investigations revealed that a Saudi consulate driver was among those who handed over the body to a “local collaborator.”
Following the announcement, royal court adviser Saud al-Qahtani and deputy intelligence chief Ahmed al-Assiri were relieved of their positions.
Saudi Arabia's King Salman has ordered the restructuring of the command of the general intelligence agency under the supervision of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
An official source quoted by Saudi Press Agency confirmed that Saudi Arabia is taking all the necessary measures to clarify the truth into the Khashoggi case and emphasized that it would be holding all those involved accountable.
The source added that while the investigations are still ongoing into the case with the 18 Saudi suspects, Saudi Arabia said it expresses its deep regret at the painful developments that have taken place and stresses the commitment of the authorities to bring the facts to the public opinion and to hold all those involved accountable and bring them to justice by referring them to the competent courts in Saudi Arabia.
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