Two sons of killed journalist Jamal Khashoggi want his body to return to Saudi Arabia for burial. Calling their father “a moderate person” misrepresented in the media, they are still hoping his death was at least “not painful.”
“All that we want right now is to bury him in Al-Baqi [cemetery] in Medina with the rest of his family,” Salah Khashoggi, 35, told CNN in an interview. He and his brother Abdullah said that their family is unable to mourn the father’s death properly. Salah has talked about the body’s return with the Saudi authorities and hopes to get a positive response.
Abdullah hopes that whatever happened to his father “was quick” and “wasn’t painful” for him. The 33-year-old was the first family member to visit his father’s apartment in Virginia, where he found a photo of Jamal’s grandchildren.
“That shocked me. It put an emphasis on his gentle, tender side of loving his family, his grandkids. It’s just something huge and it touched me personally and all the family when they knew about it,” Abdullah said.
Both Salah and Abdullah described their father as a “moderate person,” saying his name has been misrepresented in the media since the news of his death emerged in early October.
“I see a lot of people coming out right now and trying to claim his legacy and unfortunately some of them are using that in a political way that we totally don’t agree with,” Salah said.
The brothers are closely following all bits and pieces of the story, which remains in the headlines for the second consecutive month.
“It’s difficult, it’s not easy. Especially when the story gets this big,” Abdullah admitted. For him, the whole case is “confusing and difficult.”
“It’s not a normal situation and not a normal death,” he said.
The Washington Post columnist and an outspoken critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Khashoggi entered the consulate in Istanbul on October 2 and failed to reappear. Turkey has been laying the blame on the Gulf kingdom for what has been described as a brutal murder. The country’s prosecutor stated that the journalist was killed by “strangulation” and that his body was “cut into pieces” after the murder. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently accused the “highest level” Saudi officials of ordering the murder.
After weeks of denying his death and any knowledge of Khashoggi’s whereabouts, Riyadh admitted that he died as a result of an “accidental” fight. Later, the Saudi prosecutors also said that some evidence suggested that the killing was premeditated.