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'Utter bulls---': Khashoggi's editor sounds off on Saudi explanation for journalist’s death
An editor and friend who worked closely with Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi journalist killed inside Saudi Arabia's consulate, blasted the country's explanation Friday for his death as "utter bullshit."
Karen Attiah, the global opinions editor for The Washington Post, has been vocal on Twitter ever since Khashoggi disappeared after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul early this month.
She fired off a series of tweets on Friday ripping into the Saudi government's statement that claimed Khashoggi died following a physical altercation inside the consulate.
"Khashoggi was killed. By Saudi men. In a consulate. His life was taken from him," she wrote in one tweet.
"What sort of equal 'fight' would he have had against 15 other men? And who brings a bone saw to a 'discussion'?!" she added.
Khashoggi was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 to obtain documents needed for his upcoming marriage.
The Saudi government originally denied any knowledge of the journalist's whereabouts, claiming without evidence that he had left the consulate shortly after arriving.
The kingdom's statement Friday was the first time that it acknowledged that he died inside the consulate. It claimed, however, that he died after being involved in a "brawl," a description that immediately drew scrutiny in Washington and criticism from U.S. lawmakers.
Eighteen Saudi suspects are now in custody and are being investigated in connection with Khashoggi's death, the kingdom announced.
Pro-government media in Turkey have claimed that Saudi officials ordered the dissident journalist to be killed, saying he was dismembered in the consulate.
Attiah told The New York Times that she recruited Khashoggi, who had been an outspoken critic of Saudi leadership, to serve as a Washington Post columnist about a year ago.
"His first column for us blew up. It spiked in traffic. That's when we realized we had a force on our hands," she said.
After formally hiring Khashoggi last December, she spoke of his excitement taking the position.
"He was really pushing me: 'When is the press release? When is the press release?' He was really, really proud and honored to have that title," she told the Times.
The Washington Post printed a special opinion page on Thursday that included a column Khashoggi wrote before he disappeared.
President Trump said Friday night that Saudi Arabia's explanation for Khashoggi's death was credible, adding that the arrests of the 18 Saudi nationals were "a good first step."