The two sons of slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi have joined his fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, in asking Saudi Arabia to facilitate the return of their father’s body in order to perform a traditional burial.
“All what we want right now is to bury him in Al-Baqi (cemetery) in Medina (Saudi Arabia) with the rest of his family,” Salah Khashoggi, 35, told CNN in an interview that aired Sunday. “I talked about that with the Saudi authorities and I just hope that it happens soon.”
Jamal Khashoggi disappeared after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. Multiple narratives have since emerged about what happened to him, with the Saudis first denying responsibility only to later recant and acknowledge that a team of “rogue” operatives carried out the killing.
According to Turkish officials, Khashoggi was beheaded, dismembered and killed inside the embassy. Saudi officials reportedly then tried to wipe away the evidence. A Turkish official said last week that his body may have been dissolved in acid.
“Khashoggi’s body was not in need of burying,” a senior Turkish official told The Washington Post.
“I really hope that whatever happened wasn’t painful for him, or it was quick. Or he had a peaceful death,” Abdullah Khashoggi, 33, said in the CNN interview.
Both sons spoke of their father as a well-liked, “moderate” person, attempting to dispel the narrative that he maintained links to extremism. Saudi officials reportedly considered him part of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Egyptian political organization that some countries consider a terror group.
“Jamal was never a dissident,” Salah Khashoggi said. “He believed in the monarchy that it is the thing that is keeping the country together. And he believed in the transformation that it is going through.”