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Rights group calls for Saudi Arabia to "immediately produce" Jamal Khashoggi's body

Rights group calls for Saudi Arabia to

Khashoggi went missing two weeks ago, and Riyadh previously denied all knowledge of his whereabouts.

In the latest version of events from Riyadh, Saudi Attorney General Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb said Khashoggi died after talks at the consulate degenerated into a physical altercation.

Prior to the Saudi state media's confirmation, President Trump told reporters in Arizona that he would "very much have Congress involved in determining what to do" in response to Khashoggi's death.

Key members of the crown prince's inner circle were sacked, including deputy intelligence chief Ahmad al-Assiri and royal court media adviser Saud al-Qahtani.

What happened next is less clear: the Saudi statement says the group of officials involved in the journalist's death covered up the aftermath, but makes no mention of what happened to his body.

Saudi state media initially claimed that Khashoggi left the Saudi consulate in Istanbul alive, while Turkish officials claimed early on that Khashoggi had been killed.

October 17: Turkish authorities begin searching the consul's residence in Istanbul. "They were trying to keep him quiet."For her part, Khashoggi's Turkish fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, tweeted in Arabic: "The heart grieves, the eye tears, and with your separation we are saddened, my dear Jamal", she said, also asking "#where is martyr Khashoggi's body?"

Saudi sources say Qahtani, said to be 40-years-old, steered online propaganda campaigns against the kingdom's adversaries such as Qatar and Iran on social media.

The Saudi story changed early Saturday, when the government acknowledged for the first time that Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributor who had written columns critical of the Saudi leadership, was dead.

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Trump said he found Saudi Arabia's explanation "credible" and described it as an important first step.

A number of U.S. lawmakers, including a Republican highly critical of the Saudis, Senator Lindsey Graham, said they were sceptical about the report on the journalist's death.

Democratic Representative Adam Schiff of California said Saudi Arabia's claim that Mr Khashoggi died in a brawl was not credible.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a close Trump ally, tweeted, "To say that I am skeptical of the new Saudi narrative about Mr. Khashoggi is an understatement".

The spokesman for Turkey's ruling AK Party said it would not allow a "cover up".

Erdogan's government has so far refused to publicly reveal that evidence, possibly to protect Turkish surveillance methods but also, analysts said, to preserve a measure of leverage over the Saudis and the Trump administration, which has tried to protect its Saudi allies.

On the same day of Khashoggi's disappearance, 15 other Saudis, including several officials, arrived in Istanbul on two planes and visited the consulate while he was still inside, according to Turkish police sources. Businesses pulled out of an investment conference due to be held in Saudi Arabia next week, and Trump came under pressure to issue an unequivocal condemnation.

Britain's Foreign Office, which also has close ties to Riyadh, said it "was a bad act and those responsible must be held to account".


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