It is 34 days since Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi walked into his country’s consulate in Istanbul and did not walk out. Since then, Saudi Arabia has acknowledged that Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi Consulate building but much around the act remains a mystery. Especially, the location of the remains of the deceased journalist.
Speaking to CNN, Jamal Khashoggi’s sons have called for the remains of their father to be returned to them so that they could carry out his last rights.
Salah and Abdullah Khashoggi, who were under a travel ban by the Saudi government until a fortnight ago spoke to the CNN journalist in Washington DC,U.S. after they were allowed to leave their home country over the backlash of Khashoggi’s death.
A sentence that no son should have to utter for his father, Abdullah Khashoggi said, "I really hope that whatever happened wasn't painful for him, or it was quick. Or he had a peaceful death," during his interview.
The brothers added their plea to that Jamal Khashoggi’s fiancé, of returning the mortal remains of their father. Though Saudi Arabia’s prosecutor has acknowledged that Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate and detained 18 men related to the crime, there has been no word of his body.
The brothers say their family is unable to grieve or find closure without giving Khashoggi a proper burial. "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," he added.
Authorities in Turkey – who say they have evidence that Khashoggi was murdered withing minutes after entering the Saud Consulate by a hit squad sent from Riyadh – are still on the hunt for the journalist's remains.
According to a new report by a Turkish pro-government newspaper, Khashoggi's body was dismembered and put into five suitcases after he was strangled upon entering Saudi Arabia's consulate. His remains were then put into suitcases which were then taken to the Saudi consul-general's residence near the consulate building. The report cited government investigators as the sources for these details.
The officials said that Maher Mutreb, Salah Tubeigy and Thaar al-Harbi were the three key figures from a 15-member hit squad reportedly involved in dismembering Khashoggi's body and removing it from the premises.
Mutreb was a direct aide to Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, while Tubeigy was the head of the Saudi Scientific Council of Forensics and a colonel in the kingdom's army.
Al-Harbi was reportedly promoted to lieutenant in the Saudi royal guard last year for bravery in the defence of the crown prince's palace in Jeddah.
This report comes on the heels of a similar report in the Washington Post which reported that Turkish investigators were looking into the theory that the body was dissolved in acid.
Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has reiterated his claim that he believed the order to kill the journalist came from the "highest levels" of the Saudi state.