“Jamal was never a dissident. He believed in the monarchy,” say sons of killed Saudi dissident journalist Khashoggi

In an interview with CNN, the sons of killed dissident journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, revealed that they had asked Saudi authorities to return the body of their father so the family could properly grieve.

Khashoggi entered the building on October 2 to obtain documentation certifying he had divorced his ex-wife. He was not seen since.

Saudi Arabia has admitted that the Saudi critic died in a premeditated murder inside its Istanbul consulate – after weeks of consistent denials that it had anything to do with his disappearance.

ALSO READ: Khashoggi killing: More than 100 writers, artists call on UN to probe killing; Erdogan says order for kill came from ‘highest levels of Saudi govt’

Turkish media have reported Khashoggi was killed and dismembered based on recordings from the consulate. They say he died at the hands of a 15-member assassination squad from Saudi Arabia.

“I really hope that whatever happened wasn’t painful for him, or it was quick. Or he had a peaceful death,” Abdullah Khashoggi told the US network during the interview in Washington on Sunday.

His brother Salah said, “All what we want right now is to bury him in Al Baqi in Medina with the rest of his family,” referencing a cemetery in Saudi Arabia. “I talked about that with the Saudi authorities and I just hope that it happens soon.”

Salah told CNN that his handshake with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman shortly before he left Saudi Arabia was misinterpreted in the media.

Salah Khashoggi shakes hands with Mohammed bin Salman at the royal palace on Tuesday. Image Courtesy: Saudi Press Agency.

“I mean there was nothing, they were just over-analysing the whole situation… I understand why they’re trying to do that. They’re trying to get as much information as they can out of anything, which is something that we’re also doing. Sometimes they’re just baseless claims, sometimes they just don’t make any sense,” he told the network.

ALSO READ: Crimes against Journalists: Who was Jamal Khashoggi and what his killing means for press freedom

Khashoggi’s sons expressed worry that the work of their father, a columnist for The Washington Post, was being distorted for political reasons.

“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 told CNN. “My fear is that it’s being over politicised.”

“Jamal was never a dissident. He believed in the monarchy, that it is the thing that is keeping the country together.”

The brothers said they have relied primarily on news reports to piece together an understanding of their father’s death.

“There’s a lot of ups and downs…. We’re trying to get the story – bits and pieces of the story to complete the whole picture,” Abdullah said. “It’s confusing and difficult.”

“It’s not a normal situation and not a normal death,” he said.

Salah emphasised that “the king has stressed that everybody will be brought to justice. And I have faith in that.”

ALSO READ: UN experts note ‘toxic nature of political incitement against journalists’, demand transparent investigation into Khashoggi’s killing

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