In the weeks after the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in Istanbul, the Saudi Arabian government offered ever-changing explanations for what had happened. It took weeks before Riyadh admitted that Khashoggi was dead and that his countrymen had killed him.
Critics and world leaders say that Saudi Arabia is still not telling the whole truth, but Khashoggi's sons have adopted a much more measured approach. In a Sunday interview with CNN, Salah and Abdullah Khashoggi said they trusted the Saudi government to bring the perpetrators to justice. It was the first time the brothers had spoken to American media since Jamal Khashoggi, a contributing columnist for The Washington Post, was assassinated on October 2.
"The king has emphasized that all those involved will be brought to justice and I am confident that this will happen [the Saudi government] no internal investigation would have begun, "said Salah Khashoggi, 35, on CNN.
What explains his measured comment?
Experts say that he tries to protect himself and his family against retaliatory measures from the government. The fame of his father as a critic of Saudi leadership had caused him problems in the past: a friend of Jamal Khashoggi told the Associated Press that Salah, who has both American and Saudi citizenship, was forbidden from leaving Saudi Arabia before his father was murdered. .
Salah Khashoggi's approach can also be a reflection of a genuine trust in the Saudi government – and skepticism about the way in which the Turkish government deals with the murder investigation. In the days after Jamal Khashoggi disappeared after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, his first wife, Alaa Nassif, told the Saudi media that she knew nothing of his new fiancé, a Turkish citizen, and wondered why they were social problems. media.
Nassif also showed confidence in the Saudi government.
"All Saudi dissidents are not harmed, no one reached them to hurt them, even if they are out of the country, this is a truth since the establishment of the country." They may have said more than Jamal said and they were not harmed. There are many examples, "said Nassif in an interview with Al Arabiya English, an outlet from the Saudi government.
There may even be divisions within the family about who Khashoggi was and how he should be remembered. A clue may be the way the Khashoggi brothers described their father on CNN.
In the interview Abdullah Khashoggi named his father a "rock-and-roll star as a journalist" and someone who "pushed the system a bit". His father, he said, was "brave."
Salah Khashoggi offered a different image, that of a "moderate man who shares common values with everyone." He was "a man who loved his country and believed it very much and its potential," he said. "Jamal was never a dissident. … He believed in the transformation [Saudi Arabia] went on. That is how he should be remembered. "
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