Jamal Khashoggi Wiki, Age, Death, Wife, Children, Family, Biography & More

Jamal Khashoggi

Jamal Khashoggi was a Saudi Arabian dissident, author, and columnist for the American daily The Washington Post. He was a general manager and editor-in-chief of Al-Arab News Channel. On October 2, 2018, he was assassinated by agents of the Saudi government.

Wiki/Biography

Jamal Ahmad Khashoggi [1]The Guardian was born Monday, October 13, 1958 (age 59 years at the time of death), in Medina, Saudi Arabia. His zodiac sign is Libra. He did his schooling in Saudi Arabia and attended Indiana State University in Terre Haute to pursue a Bachelor of Business Administration degree and graduated in 1982. [2]The Guardian He earned a degree in Journalism in 1983. [3]VOA News

Physical Appearance

Eye Color: Dark Brown

Hair Color: Salt & Pepper (semi-bald)

Jamal Khashoggi

Family & Ethnicity

He is of Turkish and South Arabian origin. [4]The Guardian He is a descendent of a family (hailing from Turkey’s Kayseri province) that migrated to the western Hejaz region of the Arabian peninsula in Ottoman times. During the Ottoman times, his family served the Ottoman Empire in Islam’s holy lands for centuries after leaving the Anatolia peninsula in Turkey. The Khashoggi surname is derived from the Turkish word ‘Kasikci,’ which means spoon-maker. The Khashoggi family has maintained their ties with Turkey and is very famous there. [5]Bloomberg

Parents & Siblings

He was born to Ahmed Hamza Khashoggi (owner of a fabric shop) and Esaaf al Dafterdar. He had three brothers, Sahl bin Ahmed Khashoggi, Sheikh Riad Ahmed Khashoggi (the first industrial engineer in Saudi Arabia, author, and scholar), and Wajdi Khashoggi. He has three sisters, Samiha, Sanah, and Salwa Khashoggi.

A picture of Jamal Khashoggi's parents and his siblings, Samiha and Riad Khashoggi, in 1969

A picture of Jamal Khashoggi’s parents and his siblings, Samiha and Riad Khashoggi, in 1969

Riad Khashoggi

Riad Khashoggi

Wife & Children

Before his death, he had married and divorced three times. With his marriage to Rawia al-Tunisi, he had four children; two sons named Salah and Abdullah Jamal; two daughters named Noha and Razan Jamal. All of his children were educated in the US with two of them having US citizenship.

Jamal Khashoggi's sons

Jamal Khashoggi’s sons

Jamal Khashoggi's children and grandchildren

Jamal Khashoggi’s children and grandchildren

He was once married to Dr. Alaa Nassif.

Jamal Khashoggi with his ex-wife Dr. Alaa Nassif

Jamal Khashoggi with his ex-wife Dr. Alaa Nassif

In June 2018, he got married to an Egyptian woman named Hanan El-Atr in a secret ceremony without obtaining a marriage license.

Jamal Khashoggi with Hanan Atr

Jamal Khashoggi with Hanan Atr

Before his death, he was planning to marry Hatice Cengiz, a 36-year-old researcher at a university in Istanbul. Jamal and Hatice met in May 2018 during a conference in Istanbul.

Jamal Khashoggi with Hatice Cengiz

Jamal Khashoggi with Hatice Cengiz

Other Relatives

He was the grandson of Sheikh Hamza al Khashoggi, who had dealings with Lawrence of Arabia. Sheikh Hamza’s brother, Muhammad Khashoggi (married to Samiha Ahmed Setti), was the personal doctor to founder and first king of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Ibn Saʻūd.

Dr. Muhammad Khashoggi

Dr. Muhammad Khashoggi

His paternal uncle, Adnan Khashoggi (Muhammad Khashoggi’s son), was a Saudi businessman known for his lavish business deals and lifestyle.

Adnan Khashoggi

Adnan Khashoggi

His two paternal aunts (Muhammad Khashoggi’s daughters) were Samira Khashoggi (a Saudi Arabian progressive author, as well as the owner and editor-in-chief of Alsharkiah magazine) and Soheir Khashoggi ( a famous Egyptian-born Saudi Arabian novelist).

Samira Khashoggi

Samira Khashoggi

Soheir Khashoggi

Soheir Khashoggi

His cousins were Dodi Fayed (an Egyptian film producer, son of Samira Khashoggi, and lover of Princess of Wales Diana), Nabila Khashoggi (American businesswoman and actress), and Emad Khashoggi (a French-Saudi businessman and the head of COGEMAD).

Dodi Fayed with Princess Diana

Dodi Fayed with Princess Diana

Nabila Khashoggi

Nabila Khashoggi

Emad Khashoggi

Emad Khashoggi

Career

From 1983 to 1984, he worked as a regional manager for Tihama Bookstores. From 1985 to 1987, he worked as a correspondent for the Saudi Gazette (English daily) and later as an assistant manager for Okaz (Saudi Arabian daily). From 1987 to 1990, he worked for various dailies and weeklies including Asharq Al-Awsat, Al Majalla, and Al Muslimoon. In 1991, he became the managing editor and acting editor-in-chief of Al Madina and worked there till 1999. Between 1991 to 1999, he worked as a foreign correspondent in countries such as Afghanistan, Algeria, Kuwait, Sudan, and the Middle East. There have been claims about him serving the Saudi Arabian Intelligence Agency and possibly the United States in Afghanistan during this time. In 1999-2003, he worked as editor-in-chief of Arab News. Khashoggi became the editor-in-chief of the Saudi Arabian daily Al Watan in March 2003, and two months later, he was dismissed by the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Information for allowing a columnist to criticize the Islamic scholar Ibn Taymiyyah (1263–1328), who is considered an important figure of Wahhabism. After his dismissal, he went to London in voluntary exile and began working as an adviser to Prince Turki Al Faisal, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States.

Prince Turki Al Faisal

Prince Turki Al Faisal

In April 2007, Khashoggi began to work as editor-in-chief of Al Watan for a second time and was dismissed again in 2010 after a column by poet Ibrahim al-Almaee, challenging the basic Salafi premises, was published in Al Watan. An announcement from Al Watan stated,

Khashoggi resigned as editor-in-chief to focus on his personal projects.”

Khashoggi maintained ties with Saudi Arabian elites, including those in its intelligence apparatus. In 2015, he launched an independent satellite news channel Al-Arab, based in Bahrain outside Saudi Arabia. The channel was supported by Saudi Arabian billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal and partnered with U.S. financial news channel Bloomberg Television. Eleven hours after its first broadcast, the channel was shut down reasonably due to failure in obtaining the required licensing approval to begin broadcasting in the country. According to an Arabic daily, Akhbar Alkhaleej,

Programming was suspended because the station aired footage of a member of the Bahraini opposition, Khalil Al Marzooq, which was deemed offensive to the government.”

He was also a political commentator for Saudi Arabian and international channels, including MBC, BBC, Al Jazeera, and Dubai TV. Between June 2012 and September 2016, he was a regular opinion columnist of Al Arabiya. In his career as a journalist in Saudi Arabia, he covered events like Soviet- Afgan War and the rise of Osama bin Laden, whom he had known earlier. In June 2017, he moved to the United States, and in September 2017, he began writing for The Washington Post, where he wrote controversial articles against Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.

Jamal Khashoggi's column in The Washington Post

Jamal Khashoggi’s column in The Washington Post

Political Views

Jamal Khashoggi spoke against Saudi Arabia’s stand on Wahhabism and had said that Arabia should find a way for Islam and secularism to exist together. According to Jamal,

Saudi Arabia should return to its pre-1979 climate when the government restricted hard-line Wahhabi traditions. Women today should have the same rights as men. And all citizens should have the right to speak their minds without fear of imprisonment. Saudis must find a way where we can accommodate secularism and Islam, something like what they have in Turkey. What the Arab world needs most is free expression. Arab world free press independent from national governments would develop so that ordinary people in the Arab world would be able to address the structural problems their societies face.”

He had criticized Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen in 2015, Saudi Arabia-led Qatar diplomatic crisis 2017, 2017 Lebanon–Saudi Arabia dispute, Saudi Arabia’s diplomatic dispute with Canada in 2018, Kingdom’s crackdown on dissent and media, and arrest of women rights activists Loujain al-Hathloul, Eman al-Nafjan, Aziza al-Yousef, and several others involved in the women to drive movement and the anti-male-guardianship campaign. He repeatedly criticized Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman policies on several accounts. In an article from the Washington Post, he wrote,

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, known by his initials, MBS, is signaling that any open opposition to Saudi domestic policies, even ones as egregious as the punitive arrests of reform-seeking Saudi women, is intolerable. while MBS is right to free Saudi Arabia from ultra-conservative religious forces, he is wrong to advance a new radicalism that, while seemingly more liberal and appealing to the West, is just as intolerant of dissent. MBS’s rash actions are deepening tensions and undermining the security of the Gulf states and the region as a whole.”

He also criticized Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s government in Egypt after he organized a military coup to remove President Mohamed Morsi in 2013. According to him,

Egypt has jailed 60,000 opposition members and is deserving of criticism as well. Despite U.S. President Barack Obama’s declared support for democracy and change in the Arab world in the wake of the Arab Spring, then President Barack Obama did not take a strong position and reject the coup against President-elect Mohamed Morsi. The coup, as we know, led to the military’s return to power in the largest Arab country – along with tyranny, repression, corruption and mismanagement.”

Khashoggi was critical of Iran’s Shi’a sectarianism. In an article from 2016, he wrote,

Iran looks at the region, particularly Syria, from a sectarian angle. The militias Tehran is relying on, some of which come from as far as Afghanistan, are sectarian. They raid Syrian villages with sectarian slogans, bringing to life conflicts from over a thousand years ago. With blood and sectarianism, Iran is redrawing the map of the region.”

Awards & Honors

  • He was awarded the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers Golden Pen of Freedom Award in 2019.
  • On 11 December 2018, he was named the person of the year by Time magazine for his work in journalism, along with other journalists massacred at the hands of politics for their work. With reference to Jamal and other journalists, Time dubbed them ‘Guardian of the Truth.’
    Jamal Khashoggi - Time Person of the Year

Assassination

Backstory

After joining The Washington Post in 2017, he wrote columns against the Saudi government, criticizing Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammad bin Salman, and the country’s King Salman.

Saudi Arabia's King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman

Khashoggi was repeatedly harassed via Twitter from pro-regime bot accounts led by Saud al-Qahtani, an official tasked by Crown Prince with implementing a zero-tolerance crackdown on dissent on social media. Just before his assassination, Khashoggi and Omar Abdelaziz (one of the most visible public critics of the Saudi regime in Canada) launched several projects to fight online abuse.

Omar Abdelaziz

Omar Abdelaziz

One of the projects was named Geish al-Nahl (Army of the Bees or The Bees Army), which was launched to counterpoint the regime’s propaganda machine, which would contain a network of pro-democracy activists who would post and amplify one another’s messages about Saudi political issues. According to Abdulaziz,

They wanted to talk about the dissidents, the political prisoners, freedom of speech, human rights and make people aware of what’s really happening.”

In his last column with The Washington Post, posthumously published, he wrote,

What the Arab world needs most is free expression”

Khashoggi and Abdelaziz were also working on a short film, showing how the Saudi leadership was dividing the country. They tried to keep their work secret from Saudi persecution. In the summer of 2018, Abdulaziz’s cellphone was infected with NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware, which would’ve formed a medium to direct information regarding Jamal and provide access to the conversations between the two men. Abdulaziz recalled,

Jamal was very polite in public, but in private, he spoke more freely – he was very very critical of the crown prince.”

In late September 2018, Jamal met with his friends in London to discuss his various plans. On September 21, just eleven days before his assassination, Jamal declared his support towards the Bees Movement, using the Bee Army’s first hashtag “what do you know about bees,” he tweeted,

They love their home country and defend it with truth and rights.”

Disappearance

Over the year 2017, Jamal Khashoggi was getting appeals from the House of Saud to return to Riyadh and resume his services as a media advisor to the royal court. However, in fear that it was a ruse and that he could be imprisoned or worse, Jamal declined. In late 2017/early 2018, he met crown prince Mohammed’s brother, Prince Khalid, at the Saudi embassy in Washington, where Prince Khalid assured that Saudi Consulate in Istanbul would be safe for him. In September 2018, Jamal visited the embassy again to retrieve the paperwork required for his pending marriage to his Turkish fiancée, Hatice Cengiz. He tried every means to complete the paperwork in the US, but he was lured to the Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey (his fiancee’s home). On September 28, 2018, he visited the consulate in Istanbul unannounced; at the consulate, he had to collect a document that certified him as ‘no longer married,’ so that he could marry his fiancée. Before his visit, he sought assurances about his safety from friends in the US and instructed his fiancée to contact Turkish authorities if he failed to emerge. At the consulate, he was told to return on October 2. The next day, i.e., on September 29, he traveled to London to speak at a conference and returned to Istanbul on October 1. He had earlier told a close friend that he was worried about being kidnapped and sent back to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). The same day, at around 16:30, a three-person Saudi team arrived in Istanbul on a scheduled flight, checked in to their hotels, and then made a visit to the consulate. Meanwhile, another group of officials from the consulate traveled to a forest in Istanbul’s outskirts and the nearby city of Yalova on a “reconnaissance” trip. On October 2, a group of 15 people arrived in Istanbul from Riyadh on two private Gulfstream jets.

Jamal Khashoggi's assassins arriving at the airport

Jamal Khashoggi’s assassins arriving at the airport

On October 2, 2018, the suspected agents entered the consulate around noon. An hour later, Jamal arrived at the consulate with his fiancée, whom he gave his two cell phones as she waited outside for him. At around 1 pm, he entered the consulate through the main entrance, but did not come out by 4 pm; the working hours of the consulate were until 3:30 pm.

Jamal Khashoggi entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul

Jamal Khashoggi entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul

Cengiz waited for Jamal, but when there was no sign of him, she contacted the authorities and called Khashoggi’s friend, Yasin Aktay, an adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and reported Jamal missing.

A CCTV footage showing Jamal Khashoggi's fiancee waiting for him outside the Saudi consulate

A CCTV footage showing Jamal Khashoggi’s fiancee waiting for him outside the Saudi consulate

As the investigation began, the Saudi government issued a statement, saying that Jamal had left the consulate via the back entrance. At first, the Turkish government stated Jamal to be still inside, and his fiancée and friends said that he was missing. Turkish police investigators told the media that the recordings from the security cameras did not show any evidence of Khashoggi leaving the consulate.

Killing & Investigation

At the same time, there were reports of him getting tortured and killed inside the consulate by a 15-member team called ‘The Tiger Squad’ brought in from Saudi Arabia for the operation. On October 16, Middle East Eye reported that the killing (of Jamal) took about seven minutes and forensic specialist Salah Muhammed al-Tubaigy, who had brought along a bone saw dismembered Khashoggi when he was still alive, as he and his colleagues listened to music. According to an anonymous source,

Khashoggi was dragged from consul-general Mohammad al-Otaibi’s office at the Saudi consulate … Tubaigy began to cut Khashoggi’s body up on a table in the study while he was still alive and there was no attempt to interrogate him. They had come to kill him.”

The Wall Street Journal reported that Jamal was tortured in front of the top Saudi diplomat Mohammad al-Otaibi, Saudi Arabia’s consul-general, who fled Istanbul to Riyadh on October 16, after his home was expected to be searched concerning Jamal’s disappearance. On 20 October, the Saudi Foreign Ministry reported what was Saudi’s first acknowledgment of Jamal’s death that a preliminary investigation showed that Khashoggi had died at the consulate while engaged in a fight. On October 20, BBC reported that Saud al-Qahtani and Ahmad Asiri were fired by the Saudi royal court for their involvement in Khashoggi’s killing. On October 21, it was reported that he was drugged and kidnapped by Maher Mutreb, and was restrained with a chokehold, which killed him. On October 22, Reuters cited a Turkish intelligence source and a high-ranking official (with links to Royal court) that while Jamal was held in the room, Saud al-Qahtani (the then-top aide for Mohammed bin Salman) had made a Skype call to the consulate. Qahtani reportedly insulted Khashoggi and then asked the team to kill Jamal Khashoggi. According to the source, Qahtani had instructed,

Bring me the head of the dog.”

The skype call was believed to be with Erdogan, according to the sources. According to Daily Sabah’s journalist Nazif Karaman, the audio recording from inside the consulate revealed Khashoggi’s last words to be,

I’m suffocating… take this bag off my head, I’m claustrophobic.”

On December 10, the details of the transcript of the audio were given to CNN by an anonymous source. On November 16, a Hürriyet columnist reported Turkey having more evidence, including a second audio recording from the consulate in which the Saudi team reviewed the plans of killing Khashoggi. The columnist also reported,

Turkish officials also did not confirm [Saudi prosecutor’s claim] that Khashoggi was killed after they gave him a fatal dose of drug. They say that he was strangulated with a rope or something like a plastic bag.”

After the statement of the Saudi Foreign Ministry’s confirmation on Khashoggi’s death on October 22, CNN aired CCTV law enforcement footage from the Turkish authorities, which showed the Saudi agent Mustafa al-Madani (a member of the 15 member group) leaving the consulate by the back door, dressed in Jamal’s clothes except for the shoes. CNN reported,

CNN has obtained exclusive law enforcement surveillance footage, part of the Turkish government’s investigation, that appears to show the man leaving the Saudi consulate by the back door, wearing Khashoggi’s clothes, a fake beard, and glasses. The same man was seen in Khashoggi’s clothing, according to the Turkish case, at the city’s world-famous Blue Mosque just hours after the journalist was last seen alive entering the consulate on October 2.”

Images from CCTV showing Jamal Khashoggi (left) and Mustafa al-Madani (rights; dressed in Jamal's clothes)

Images from CCTV showing Jamal Khashoggi (left) and Mustafa al-Madani (rights; dressed in Jamal’s clothes)

According to a Turkish official,

In the apparent cover-up that followed Khashoggi’s death, Madani, 57, who is of similar height, age and build to Khashoggi, 59, was used as a decoy for the journalist. You don’t need a body double for a rendition or an interrogation, This was a premeditated murder and the body was moved out of the consulate.”

On October 31, a senior Turkish official reported that Turkish authorities were investigating the theory about Jamal’s body being destroyed in acid on the grounds of the consulate or at the nearby residence of the Saudi consul general. The theory was supported by the “biological evidence” discovered in the consulate garden. On March 4, 2019, a documentary on Jamal Khashoggi’s murder investigation and subsequent coverup by Al Jazeera Arabic was released. In the documentary, it was stated that Jamal’s body was disposed of by being burnt in an oven at the Saudi consulate general’s residence. In an interview with the oven’s builder, it was revealed that the oven was designed to be “deep” and was capable of withstanding temperatures over 1,000 °C (1,830 °F). The burning of the body took three days and happened in parts after which a large quantity of barbecue meat was prepared to cover the evidence. There were also reports of people being sent with the investigative team to destroy the evidence of murder and cover it up.

Charges

On November 15, 2018, the Saudi Prosecutor’s Office named 11 Saudi nationals, who were indicted and charged with the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, out of which, five would face the death penalty for their direct involvement in ordering and execution of the crime. Prosecutors asserted that shortly after Jamal’s entry at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Jamal was bound, overdosed with a sedative that resulted in his death, was dismembered, and removed from the consulate by the five accused, and given to a local collaborator for disposal. Saudi officials continued to deny Saudi Royal Family’s involvement in order or sanction for the killing. The publications like The New York Times and The Washington Post continued to report crown prince Mohammad bin Salman’s involvement in Khashoggi’s murder and CIA’s unequivocal assessment over crown prince having nothing to do with the killing. In between reports of the crown prince’s involvement, Saudis, CIA spokesman, White House, and the US State Department declined to comment. On November 20, 2018, the then US President Donald Trump issued a statement,

On Standing with Saudi Arabia, our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information, but it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event – maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!”

In a series of interviews, Trump continued to deny the crown prince’s involvement vehemently. There were several reports of CIA possession of an intercepted phone call between the crown prince and his brother Khalid ordering his murder. In September 2019, Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi crown prince, appeared in an interview with the CBS ’60 Minutes,’ which was aired on September 29, 2019. In the interview, he denied ordering the assassination of Jamal or having prior knowledge about it, but bore the responsibility for the killing because the incident took place under his watch. He also said,

Once charges are proven against someone, regardless of their rank, it will be taken to court, no exception made.”

Mohammed bin Salman in CBS 60 Minutes

Mohammed bin Salman in CBS 60 Minutes

On March 25, 2020, Turkish prosecutors indicted 20 Saudi nationals over the killing of Khashoggi. According to the prosecutor’s office in Istanbul, Saud al-Qahtani (a royal court adviser) and Ahmed al-Assiri (Saudi’s former deputy intelligence chief) were charged with inciting the murder; both were investigated by Saudis in 2019 but were acquitted or not charged. On July 1, 2020, a Turkish court declared the opening of the trial in absentia of the 20 indicted Saudi nationals. On July 6, 2020, sanctions were imposed by the United Kingdom on the 20 Saudi Arabian nationals.

List of Alleged Perpetrators

Jamal was killed by a 15-member team out of which seven were reported to be Mohammed bin Salman’s personal bodyguards. Given below is the list of alleged perpetrators:

  • Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, a former diplomat in London, was photographed with Mohammad bin Salman on trips to Madrid, Paris, Houston, Boston, and New York- convicted and sanctioned by US Treasury
  • Salah Mohammed al-Tubaigy, the head of the Saudi Scientific Council of Forensics – convicted and sanctioned by US Treasury
  • Abdulaziz Mohammed al-Hasawi, worked as one of Mohammed bin Salman’s personal bodyguards
  • Thaer Ghaleb al-Harbi, a member of the Saudi Royal Guard – sanctioned by US Treasury.
  • Mohammed Saad al-Zahrani, a member of the Saudi Royal Guard – sanctioned by US Treasury
  • Meshal Saad al-Bostani, a lieutenant in the Saudi Air Force who died in a car accident in Riyadh on return to Saudi Arabia – sanctioned by US Treasury
  • Naif Hassan al-Arefe
  • Mustafa Mohammed al-Madani, Khashoggi’s body double who left in Khashoggi’s clothing from the Saudi consulate by the back door – sanctioned by US Treasury
  • Mansur Uthman Abahussein – sanctioned by US Treasury
  • Waleed Abdullah al-Shehri – convicted and sanctioned by US Treasury
  • Turki Musharraf al-Shehri – convicted and sanctioned by US Treasury
  • Fahad Shabib al-Balawi – convicted and sanctioned by US Treasury
  • Saif Saad al-Qahtani, not charged and released – sanctioned by US Treasury
  • Khalid Aedh al-Taibi – sanctioned by US Treasury
  • Badir Lafi al-Otaibi – sanctioned by US Treasury
  • Ahmad Asiri, the deputy head of the Saudi intelligence agency ‘Riasat Al-Mukhabarat Al-A’amah’ – sanctioned by US Treasury
A collage of alleged perpetrators in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi

A collage of alleged perpetrators in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi

Trial & Conviction

The trial was conducted in secret and diplomats and Khashoggi’s family members were permitted to attend but barred from speaking. The court followed the official line that the killing was not pre-planned. At the trial, due to the lack of evidence, ten people were questioned and then released. Eleven people were put on trial by the court, which conducted ten hearings closed to the public. Five people who received a death sentence on December 23, 2019, on carrying out Jamal’s killing were,

  • Fahad Shabib Albalawi
  • Turki Muserref Alshehri
  • Waleed Abdullah Alshehri
  • Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb
  • Dr. Salah Mohammed Tubaigy

Three other unnamed indictees were sentenced to a combined total of 24 years in prison for covering up this crime and violating the law. The indictees Saud al-Qahtani, Ahmed al-Assiri, and Mohammed al-Otaibi were released either due to lack of evidence or without charges. The other eight Saudis convicted in the murder could appeal further. On September 7, 2020, the Criminal Court in Riyadh issued final convictions for the eight convicts. Five of them were given 20 years in prison, one received a 10-year sentence, and the other two were given seven-year sentences in prison. The 20-year jail terms were given following Khashoggi’s family’s decision to pardon them. The judgment was highly criticized for being a ‘mockery of justice and for lack of transparency or fairness.’

Favorite Things

  • Writer: Muḥammad ‘Abduh
  • Travel Destination: London
  • Book: The Return of Consciousness by Tawfiq al-Hakim
  • Dessert: Jalebi

Facts/Trivia

  • Khashoggi was described as an observant Muslim and his views were termed as moderately Islamist. According to some of his acquaintances,

    He was too Islamist for secular-minded liberals but too liberal for traditional conservative Wahhabis.

    Several of his friends claim that he joined Muslim Brotherhood early in his life. Although he later stopped attending meetings of the brotherhood, he remained attached to the conservative, Islamist, and often anti-Western rhetoric. In his newsrooms, he would often lead communal prayers. Like many Saudis in the 1980s, he supported jihad against the Soviets in Afghanistan. [6]The Guardian

  • Jamal Khashoggi was acquainted with Osama bin Laden in the 1980s and 1990s in Afghanistan. In his journalistic career, he interviewed Osama several times, usually meeting bin Laden in Tora Bora and Sudan. According to The Washington Post columnist David Ignatius,

    Khashoggi couldn’t have traveled with the mujahideen that way without tacit support from Saudi intelligence, which was coordinating aid to the fighters as part of its cooperation with the CIA against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. … Khashoggi criticized Prince Salman, then governor of Riyadh and head of the Saudi committee for support to the Afghan mujahideen, for unwisely funding Salafist extremist groups that were undermining the war.”

    Jamal Khashoggi with Osama bin Laden

    Jamal Khashoggi with Osama bin Laden

  • In Afghanistan in the 1980s, when Jamal Khashoggi went to meet Osama Bin Laden, he wore local dress and had his photo taken holding an assault rifle, but he did not fight there. According to a journalist who had interviewed about his time in Afganistan,

    He was there as a journalist first and foremost, admittedly as someone sympathetic to the Afghan jihad, but so were most Arab journalists at the time — and many Western journalists.”

    Jamal Khashoggi holding an assault rifle

    Jamal Khashoggi holding an assault rifle

  • According to Al Arabiya’s reports, Jamal had tried to persuade Osama to quit violence once. Khashoggi said,

    I was very much surprised [in 1997] to see Osama turning into radicalism the way he did.”

    According to Khashoggi, he was the only non-royal Saudi to know of Saudi royal’s intimate dealing with al-Qaeda in the lead-up to the September 11 attacks, and following the attacks, he disassociated himself from Osama. Khashoggi wrote,

    The most pressing issue now is to ensure that our children can never be influenced by extremist ideas like those 15 Saudis who were misled into hijacking four planes that fine September day, piloting them, and us, straight into the jaws of hell.”

    After the American commandos killed Osama in 2011, Jamal mourned his death. Jamal wrote on Twitter,

    I collapsed crying a while ago, heartbroken for you Abu Abdullah. You were beautiful and brave in those beautiful days in Afghanistan, before you surrendered to hatred and passion.”

  • He was also an author and wrote his first book ‘Elaqat Hreja’ in 2002. Later, he authored two more books Ihtalal Asuq Asaudi (2013) and Rabea Alarab, Zamen Alekhwan (2016).

    The cover art of Elaqat Hreja (2002)

    The cover art of Elaqat Hreja (2002)

  • According to an article from Forensic News, Jamal Khashoggi had worked for Wikistrat, but it was unclear when Khashoggi was hired by Wikistrat. When the inspection started Wikistrat denied his recruitment but later admitted in an email to Forensic News that Jamal did work for the firm. According to some articles published by some news organizations, the founder of Wikistrat, Joel Zamel, met with General Ahmed al Assiri (Saudi general who ordered Khashoggi’s assassination) in early 2017 to discuss covert operations to destabilize Iran. One of the topics discussed was assassinating dissidents, the offer that was turned down by Zamel, according to his lawyer.
  • In 2018, Khashoggi launched a non-profit organization called Democracy for the Arab World Now, which promotes democracy, the rule of law, and human rights for the peoples of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

    Democracy for the Arab World Now

    Democracy for the Arab World Now

  • In December 2018, writing about Khashoggi, the Washington Post stated that his columns (at times) were shaped by an organization funded by Saudi Arabia’s regional nemesis Qatar, which included the proposal of topics, providing drafts, goading, and giving research.
  • After his death, the US faced many political challenges, as Donald Trump was accused of supporting the murderer of Jamal and supporting Mohammed bin Salman. In January 2021, with the incoming US administration under Joe Biden, the report of Jamal’s assassination was made public, which was blocked by the Trump administration. In February 2021, the US Department of State put 76 Saudi nationals on a no-travel list and the Treasury Department imposed financial sanctions on Saudi officials involved in the killing of Khashoggi. A bill was introduced in early March 2021 to sanction Mohammed bin Salman.
  • On October 22, 2018, Jamal Khashoggi’s son (Salah) and brother (Sahl) were called to a photo op with King Salman and crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, at the Al Yamamah Palace in Riyadh. While pictures from the event went viral, reports about Jamal’s all four children being banned from leaving the country since 2017, began circulating. A family friend named Yehia Assiri described the event as,

    a serious assault on the family.”

    The Saudi Royal Family greeting Jamal Khashoggi's son and brother

    The Saudi Royal Family greeting Jamal Khashoggi’s son and brother

  • Following Jamal Khashoggi’s assassination, several other exiled Saudi activists reported the Saudi regime to have attempted to lure them into their embassies. According to a source, Jamal’s murder was a part of a larger operation to silently kill the critics of the Saudi government by a death squad named ‘Tiger Squad,’ whose members were reported to be a part of the 15-member team that killed Jamal. According to the source, the squad was murdering the dissidents by planning car accidents, house fires, or poisoning clinics by injecting toxic substances into opponents when they attend regular health checkups. The Tiger Squad members are recruited from different branches of the Saudi forces and are specialized in different fields.
  • Before his death, he appeared in several TV documentaries such as Dateline NBC (2002), National Geographic: Inside 9/11 (2005), and Jihad: The Men and Ideas Behind Al Qaeda (2006).
  • After his assassination, many TV shows produced episodes and TV documentaries like VICE Investigates (2019), Mord im Konsulat: Mohammed bin Salman und der Fall Khashoggi (2019), and Kingdom of Silence (2020) on Jamal’s murder.
    Kingdom of Silence (2020)
  • In 2020, a documentary titled ‘The Dissident’ was made by an Oscar-winning film director and producer Bryan Fogeon. The documentary chronicles the assassination of Khashoggi and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s role in it. The documentary had a limited release on December 25, 2020, followed by video-on-demand on January 8, 2021, by Briarcliff Entertainment.

    The Dissident (2020)

    The Dissident (2020)

  • In November 2018 in London, Amnesty International put up a sign with Jamal’s name outside the Saudi embassy, one month after his disappearance. In January 2021, it was reported that the street with the Saudi embassy in Washington D.C. would be named ‘Jamal Khashoggi Way.’

    Khashoggi Street put up by Amnesty International

    Khashoggi Street put up by Amnesty International

  • In 2019, the “Jamal Khashoggi – Award for Courageous Journalism” (JKA) was instituted, awarding five projects up to US$5,000 each to support investigative journalistic projects.
  • After fleeing the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, he bought a condo in McLean in Virginia in Washington, D.C.
  • After leaving Saudi Arabia, Jamal used to talk about missing Eid in Medina. An American friend recalled,

    He had vivid memories of growing up there. He longed to be home, like any exile.”

Add Comment

Don`t copy text!