Riyadh – A photograph of Saudi King Salman and notorious son Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) shaking hands with brutally murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s son is causing derision on social media.
Top women’s rights advocate and activist Manal al-Shariff, living in exile after being jailed and released for advocating for women’s right to drive, said the photo of Salah bin Khashoggi timidly shaking hands with the king’s son MBS made her sick.
“Salah, Jamal Khashoggi’s son, who is banned from travel. They brought him to the royal court to accept condolences. The look on his face. This photo makes me want to scream and throw up,” Manal said on Twitter.
She was jailed twice in Saudi Arabia starting in 2011 for driving when women were not allowed to get behind the wheel.
Several of her companion activists remain jailed.
Her sentiments were echoed by others on social media. Salah and his brother Sahl were brought to the king’s palace and offered condolences, according to the government owned Saudi news agency.
“The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud received at Al-Yamamah palace here today Sahl bin Ahmad Khashoggi and Salah bin Jamal Khashoggi, in the presence of His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince, Vice President of the Council of Ministers and Minister of Defense,” said a statement issued by the palace.
“The King and the Crown Prince expressed their condolences and consolation to the family of Jamal Khashoggi.
“Sahl and Salah Khashoggi expressed their great thanks to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and His Royal Highness the Crown Prince for their consolation on the death of the deceased.”
However, it’s generally accepted that neither of Khashoggi’s children is allowed to leave Saudi Arabia.
And while those who were identified as the death squad of 15 including a forensic pathologist who butchered Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul have been identified as members of Mohammed bin Salman’s inner circle, the Royal family has described the murder as an unauthorized rogue intelligence operation. It has so far accepted that it was a murder and there was a coverup.
This account has been described as “not credible” by G7 countries and Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan, who eluded to a higher hand being involved. Western leaders are pointing the finger at MBS who has assumed the role of defacto leader.
Buzzfeed opinion editor added his voice to Manal al-Shariff’s.
Spare a thought for Khashoggi's son, banned from leaving Saudi Arabia, who had to go and do this today pic.twitter.com/HyTA896LwF
— Tom Gara (@tomgara) October 23, 2018
Washington Post Columnist and author Brian Klass had this to say:
They murdered his Dad, dismembered his body, orchestrated a cover-up, lied about the murder, then lied about the cover-up…and now are forcing Khashoggi's son, who is a captive in his own country, to participate in a photo-op shaking hands with the prince who murdered his Dad. https://t.co/LfEym9CxAR
— Brian Klaas (@brianklaas) October 23, 2018
Canada’s external affairs minister Chrystia Freeland and foreign ministers of G7 nations issued a joint statement calling for justice for Khashoggi – who’s a first cousin to Dodi Fayed who died with Princess Diana. Khashoggi is also a nephew of Adnan Khashoggi – the arms dealer who was a central figure in Iran-Contra scandal.
“We, the G7 Foreign Ministers, of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and the High Representative of the European Union, condemn in the strongest possible terms the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has confirmed took place in its consulate in Istanbul.”
“The confirmation of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi’s death is a first step toward full transparency and accountability. However, the explanations offered leave many questions unanswered.
“We reiterate our expectation for a thorough, credible, transparent, and prompt investigation by Saudi Arabia, in full collaboration with the Turkish authorities, and a full and rigorous accounting of the circumstances surrounding Mr. Khashoggi’s death.,” G7 said.
“Those responsible for the killing must be held to account. Saudi Arabia must put in place measures to ensure something like this can never happen again.”
“The circumstances of Mr. Khashoggi’s death reaffirm the need to protect journalists and freedom of expression around the world.
“We also extend our deepest condolences to Mr. Khashoggi’s family, his fiancée, and his friends.”
Turkish President Erdogan laid out a sequence of events of the plot to members of his party in a speech that described it as a premeditated Saudi plot, carried out with brutality and days of preparation, and surveillance before Khashoggi was lured to the consulate. He said the consulate reminded Khashoggi by phone a day before his murder about his appointment.
Erdogan, who was friends with Khashoggi, said he wants Saudis to name the local Istanbul collaborator involved in disposing the body. The Saudis have said he was wrapped in carpet, taken out of the consulate and given to the collaborator.
Erdogan has asked Saudi Arabia to turn over the 18 suspects arrested by Saudis for trial in Turkey. Three are consulate workers.
Erdogan also reached out to Khashoggi’s children abd fiancée to offer condolences. Hatice Cengiz, Khashoggi’s fiancée posted photos of Khashoggi sitting with the Turkish president.
Thank you Mr. President @RT_Erdogan for your condolences
i was and am sure you will those who murdered my fiancé #JamalKhashoogi to face justice.
i'm proud to be a Turkish citizen#Jamal_Khashoggi #JusticeForJamal pic.twitter.com/dEcDf6hRlG
— Hatice Cengiz / خديجة (@mercan_resifi) October 23, 2018