Saudi Arabia’s controversial Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) described Jamal Khashoggi, the dissident journalist brutally killed in the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate, as a “dangerous Islamist” and a “member of Muslim Brotherhood” in a phone call with U.S. President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and National Security Adviser John Bolton days before the Riyadh critic disappeared, the Washington Post reported late Thursday.
The crown prince’s emphasis on the allegation that Khashoggi was a Muslim Brotherhood member carries significance as both Saudi Arabia and senior Trump officials including Bolton have long opposed the group, with some U.S. lawmakers seeking to designate it as a terrorist organization.
Citing the slain journalist’s family, the Washington Post also said that his relatives have completely denied that Khashoggi was an extremist.
“Jamal Khashoggi was not a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. He denied such claims repeatedly over the past several years. Jamal Khashoggi was not a dangerous person in any way possible. To claim otherwise would be ridiculous,” the Post quoted the family as saying.
Khashoggi went missing after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.
After initially saying Khashoggi had left the consulate alive, the Saudi administration admitted weeks later he had died there.
Investigation of the incident suggests a special hit squad came to the consulate to kill Khashoggi and cover up the murder. The international community refused to accept the Saudi claim that the incident was not a premeditated murder.
Turkey is seeking the extradition of 18 suspects detained in Saudi Arabia over the journalist’s slaying. It also is pressing Saudi Arabia for information about who ordered Khashoggi’s killing and the location of his remains.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has called on Riyadh to disclose the identity of an alleged local collaborator said to have been involved in getting rid of Khashoggi’s body