Geagea: Unacceptable to Exploit Khashoggi Murder to Besiege KSA
Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea on Friday condemned the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi but said the murder should not be exploited to “besiege” Saudi Arabia.
“The killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in that fashion was a brutal act that is unacceptable at all levels. But taking advantage of this murder for goals and objectives unrelated to the crime in a bid to besiege the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is condemned and rejected,” Geagea said in a statement.
“It is deplorable when a crime with the magnitude of journalist Khashoggi’s murder is exploited to undermine the role that KSA has been playing, especially over the past few years,” the LF leader added.
“Had it not been for KSA’s support for a lot of Arab countries and many rightful Arab causes, perhaps the entire face of the Middle East region would have changed,” Geagea went on to say.
He also called “those keen on fighting crime in the world” to “help the judiciary in everything it is doing to unveil all circumstances of this ugly crime” instead of “using it as an excuse to reach goals and objectives that have nothing to do with Jamal Khashoggi, the crime, public freedoms or any other matter.”
Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri had issued a similar statement earlier in the day.
On Thursday, the Saudi judiciary exonerated the country's powerful crown prince of involvement in the murder as death-penalty charges were announced against five men.
Riyadh prosecutors announced indictments against 11 people and said a total of 21 individuals were in custody in connection with the killing, which outraged Saudi allies and placed massive pressure on Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to come clean about the murder.
Khashoggi, who lived in the United States and wrote for The Washington Post and other international media, was killed and dismembered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey on October 2.
The murder was carried out by a team of Saudis who travelled to Istanbul for that purpose, according to Turkish and U.S. assessments, and was allegedly directed and led by close aides of the prince.
The Saudi prosecutor, in the country's newest account of what happened, said agents were dispatched to Istanbul to bring Khashoggi home "by means of persuasion" but ended up killing him with "a large amount of a drug resulting in an overdose."
The Saudi prosecutor did not name any of those indicted in the murder. But U.S. sanctions announced Thursday included two top aides of Prince Mohammed, Saud Al-Qahtani and Maher Mutreb, and Mohammed Alotaibi, who was the consul general in the Istanbul consulate when Khashoggi was murdered.