On the eve of the publication of a CIA (US intelligence agency) report on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, King Salman of Saudi Arabia spoke by phone with US President Joe Biden on Thursday evening (25) ).
Although touted as a diplomatic link, the real goal would be to warn the Saudi King that the intelligence report on the journalist’s death at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018 will be disqualified and released.
The intelligence agency concluded, again in the year of the death, that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had Khashoggi killed.
In the White House statement on appeal, however, no mention is made of the Saudi journalist.
According to the text, the two leaders spoke of diplomatic efforts to end the war in Yemen, as well as the commitment of the United States to help the kingdom defend its territory against groups aligned with Iran.
According to the official Middle East news agency SPA, “the king underlined in calling on President Biden the deep ties between the two countries and the importance of strengthening the partnership to serve mutual interests and ensure security and stability regional and international “.
Earlier Thursday, State Department spokesman Ned Price said releasing the information would be a step forward in ensuring accountability and transparency about what really happened.
Khashoggi was a columnist for the Washington Post and critic of the Saudi prince, known by the acronym MBS. He was last seen at the consulate on October 2, 2018, where he was reportedly given a fatal injection in front of his dismembered body and remains – never found – removed from the site in garbage bags.
A few days later, the CIA claimed to have obtained an audio in which the 59-year-old journalist was being tortured. According to the agency, the crime was ordered by the prince to silence the journalist.
A UN investigation found in February 2019 that there was evidence the Khashoggi was premeditated and brutal. The regime denies any connection with the murder.
Documents obtained by the American network CNN showed that two planes used by the assassins of Khashoggi came from a company of the Saudi sovereign fund, controlled by the crown and commanded by the crown prince.
The information was made public on Wednesday (24) by the broadcaster, which had access to court documents from a lawsuit filed in a Canadian court. The papers are signed by a Saudi minister.
According to published information, Khashoggi’s executors traveled in two planes of the Sky Prime Aviation company, which in 2017 were transferred to the sovereign wealth fund of the Middle East country.
The files ordering the transfer of the company bear the seal of the Saudi kingdom and the following warning: “Top secret, very urgent, not to be released”, according to the translation provided to the court.
The documents are part of a lawsuit filed by Saudi state-owned companies against a country’s former intelligence official for embezzling public funds, Saad Aljabri. Last year he accused the crown prince of sending a team to kill him in Canada just days after Khashoggi’s murder. The case remains open.
Sky Prime Aviation was chaired by Aljabri’s son-in-law, Salem Almuzaini. According to his complaint, Almuzaini was kidnapped in Dubai in September 2017 and forcibly returned to Saudi Arabia, where he was tortured for months. Today, we do not know where he is currently.
The Saudi government did not comment on the release of the documents.
In 2019, Saudi Arabia sentenced five people to death and three to prison for Khashoggi’s murder. According to the prosecutor in charge of the case, the death was not premeditated, but it occurred “on impulse for the moment”.
The following year, however, the courts overturned the death sentences and they were sentenced to up to 20 years in prison.