By Michael Hernandez
The son of slain Washington Post columnist is on his way to the U.S. after Saudi officials lifted his travel ban, according to the head of a prominent rights group.
Sarah Leah Whitson, the director of Human Rights Watch's Middle East North Africa division, said Salah bin Jamal Khashoggi and his family have left Riyadh.
"Too bad Salah had to endure that cruel and bizarre greeting with MBS first," she said on Twitter, referring to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, the person widely suspected of orchestrating the death of Jamal Khashoggi. Bin Salman has denied involvement.
Salah bin Jamal Khashoggi was photographed Wednesday stoically shaking bin Salman's hand, as well as shaking hands with Saudi King Salman, during a photo opportunity. The eldest son of Jamal Khashoggi was the subject of a Saudi travel ban since last year intended to lure his father back to Saudi Arabia, according to reports.
The senior Khashoggi was last seen Oct. 2 entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.
After days of denying any knowledge of his whereabouts, Saudi officials last week said Khashoggi was killed in a "brawl" at the consulate. His body has not been produced and Riyadh has yet to explain its shifting explanations for Khashoggi's disappearance after initially claiming he left the diplomatic facility in Istanbul, and that he might have been murdered by "rogue killers."
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday laid out his country’s initial findings in its investigation, saying Khashoggi's "murder was premeditated," a finding the Saudis appeared to inch closer to Thursday as the Kingdom's public prosecutor said evidence provided by Turkey indicated Khashoggi's killing was planned in advance.
While he initially struck a positive tone on Saudi Arabia's "brawl" explanation for Khashoggi's death, U.S. President Donald Trump has taken a markedly more pessimistic approach in recent days, claiming Saudi Arabia's explanation is the "worst coverup ever."
CIA Director Gina Haspel is expected to brief Trump later Thursday after returning from Turkey where she reviewed evidence in Khashoggi's case.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.