Funeral services for an exiled Saudi journalist were held on Friday, as questions surrounding who was involved in his murder continue to grow.
Jamal Khashoggi was a Saudi-based journalist who fled his country after he was told to stop writing criticisms about the government and the Crown Royal Prince Mohammed bin Salman. He was murdered last month at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, after entering the building but not being seen exiting.
The Turkish government has provided several pieces of evidence linking the Saudi government to Khashoggi’s death. The latest evidence they have uncovered, 15 minutes of audio, seems to demonstrate that his murder was a premeditated ordeal and may implicate bin Salman in being involved in his assassination, according to reporting from the Economic Times.
Khashoggi’s funeral rites were held in several locations around the world, including in mosques in Mecca and Medina, Islam’s two most holiest cities. The Salat al-Ghaib ceremonies (funeral prayers in absentia) did not mention Khashoggi by name, likely because those two cities reside within Saudi Arabia.
Khashoggi’s son, Salah Khashoggi, attended the prayer ceremony in Medina. Prayers were also held in the Fatih Mosque in Istanbul and Finsbury Park mosque in London, per reporting from Al Jazeera.
Although many leaders from around the world have condemned what appears to be a blatant attack against a journalist by bin Salman, the administration of President Donald Trump has appeared less-than-willing to take swift or strong actions against the Saudi government. Previous reporting from the Inquisitr indicates that the Trump administration did order sanctions on a number of Saudi officials earlier this week, but a bipartisan group of senators has said those actions have not gone far enough.
Those six senators have offered up a bill in Congress that would do more to address the situation and bring more harsh sanctions to the Saudi government, including possibly putting sanctions on the crown prince himself.
“There must be a transparent, credible investigation into Khashoggi’s murder and with this bill Congress is demonstrating its commitment to accountability and human rights,” Sen. Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey) said on Thursday, upon the announcement of the bill.
Menendez is joined by five colleagues in the Senate pushing forward the proposal, including Sen. Jack Reed (D-Rhode Island), Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire), Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), and Sen. Todd Young (R-Indiana). Their bill would also create sanctions on Saudi Arabia in response to their involvement in the Yemen civil war, suspending weapons sales from the United States to the Saudi government.
That bill, should it pass Congressional muster, is not likely to be supported by the president, as he has indicated in the past his reluctance to end an economic relationship with Saudi Arabia on the basis of Khashoggi’s murder.