US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in a telephone call on Sunday that his government will hold those involved in the murder of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi accountable.
Khashoggi, a US resident and Washington Post columnist, was murdered in Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul on October 2 and the crown prince has been accused of ordering it, which has put great strain on the traditionally strong relationship between Washington and Riyadh.
“The secretary emphasized that the United States will hold all of those involved in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi accountable and that Saudi Arabia must do the same,” the State Department said in a statement.
The top US diplomat has previously said Khashoggi’s killing “violates the norms of international law,” and that the US was considering sanctions on individuals identified as having been involved.
Meanwhile, around 200 people gathered on Sunday in Istanbul to honor Khashoggi’s memory. Supporters met to talk and watch videos of eulogies for the outspoken journalist.
Turan Kislakci, head of the Turkish-Arab Media Association (TAM), to which Khashoggi belonged, called for justice to be done “so that these barbaric tyrants can never do the same thing again.”
Yemeni human rights activist Tawakkol Karman, who won the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize for her role in the Arab Spring uprisings, said the killing was reminiscent of crimes committed by ISIS.
Khashoggi was last seen entering the consulate on October 2 to obtain documents for his forthcoming marriage.
After repeated denials, Saudi Arabia finally admitted the 59-year-old had been killed in a “rogue” operation.
Turkish pro-government daily Sabah on Saturday reported that Khashoggi’s killers poured Khashoggi’s remains down the drain after dissolving him in acid. Samples taken from the consulate drains showed traces of acid, Sabah said without quoting sources for its story.
Erdogan has accused the “highest levels” of the Saudi regime of ordering the hit.
– With reporting from Agence France-Presse