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The Latest: US praises Saudi decision on slain writer’s son

In this photo released by Saudi Press Agency, SPA, Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman addresses the Future Investment Initiative conference, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018. The Crown Prince addressed the summit on Wednesday, his first such comments since the killing earlier this month of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. (Saudi Press Agency via AP)

ISTANBUL (AP) — The Latest on the killing of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi (all times local):

11:30 p.m.

A State Department spokesman says the U.S. welcomes a decision by Saudi Arabia to let the son of slain writer Jamal Khashoggi leave the country and come to the United States.

Spokesman Robert Palladino tells reporters that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed the son, Salah Khashoggi, during his recent visit to the kingdom.

Palladino said on Thursday that Pompeo “made it clear to Saudi leaders that he wanted Salah Khashoggi to return to the United States, and we are pleased that he is now able to do so.”

Human Rights Watch said earlier Thursday that Salah Khashoggi and his family were heading to the U.S. after a travel ban on them was lifted. His destination was not publicly known, but his late father lived in the Washington area.

Palladino says Pompeo attended a briefing on the former Washington Post writer’s death by CIA Director Gina Haspel following her return from Turkey

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10:45 p.m.

An independent United Nations investigator says Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was the victim of an “extrajudicial execution” carried out by the Saudi state.

Agnes Callamard, the special investigator on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, told reporters at U.N. headquarters in New York on Thursday that the people who committed and orchestrated the killing “are high enough to represent the state.”

Saudi Arabia has detained 18 people. On Thursday, Saudi prosecutors said Turkish evidence showed Khashoggi’s slaying was premeditated.

Callamard says she didn’t need anyone else linked to the crime to conclude there was an “extrajudicial execution” — though she said it’s still not known how high the order to kill Khashoggi went.

She reiterated her earlier call for an independent investigation to “validate” the findings of investigations by Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

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9:30 p.m.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says her country is prepared to take “appropriate measures together with international partners” following the killing of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi.

Merkel’s office didn’t elaborate on the warning in a statement Thursday following a call between the German leader and Saudi Arabia’s King Salman. In the call, Merkel condemned Khashoggi’s killing at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul “in the sharpest possible manner.”

She called on Saudi Arabia to “ensure a swift, transparent and credible investigation” and hold those responsible to account.

Merkel also raised the dire humanitarian situation in Yemen during the call and urged Saudi Arabia to ensure access for humanitarian aid. Yemen has been ravaged by a 3 ½-year war between the Saudi-led alliance and Shite rebels known as Houthis.

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7:35 p.m.

Human Rights Watch says Jamal Khashoggi’s son has left Saudi Arabia and is on his way to the United States.

Sarah Leah Whitson, the executive director of Human Right’s Watch’s Middle East and North Africa division, said that Salah Khashoggi and his family left the Saudi capital of Riyadh on Thursday after a travel ban on him was lifted.

Turkish officials say his father Jamal, a Washington Post columnist who was critical of Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, was killed Oct. 2 when he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul by Saudi agents.

The kingdom has faced intensifying international pressure to be transparent about the death of Khashoggi. After initially claiming that the journalist left the consulate, Saudi prosecutors said Thursday that Turkish evidence shows the slaying of journalist Jamal Khashoggi was premeditated.

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4:30 p.m.

Germany’s economy minister says “many question marks” remain over the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

Economy Minister Peter Altmaier, who is on a two-day visit to Turkey to boost trade ties, praised Turkish officials on Thursday for their efforts to shed light on the killing. He said the slaying of Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi royal family, has drawn widespread condemnation.

Saudi prosecutors said Thursday that Turkish evidence shows that the killing of Khashoggi, a columnist for the Washington Post, was premeditated. It was another apparent change in the shifting Saudi Arabian narrative of what happened to the writer.

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3:30 p.m.

European Union lawmakers are calling for an arms embargo on Saudi Arabia as well as a ban on equipment that could be used in any government crackdown.

The lawmakers voted Thursday by 325 for, 1 against and 19 abstentions on a resolution calling on member countries “to impose an EU-wide arms embargo on Saudi Arabia” in response to the killing of writer Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

The non-binding resolution also demands a halt to exports “of surveillance systems and other dual-use items that may be used in Saudi Arabia for the purposes of repression.”

Leading Greens lawmaker Ska Keller said “EU countries must not continue to turn a blind eye to the serious human rights violations committed by the Saudi government.”

Many EU nations are debating a halt to arms exports but there has been no clear push for an embargo.

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2 p.m.

Saudi Arabia says the country’s powerful crown prince has attended the first meeting of a committee aiming to restructure the kingdom’s intelligence services after the killing of writer Jamal Khashoggi.

The state-run Saudi Press Agency made the announcement on Thursday.

It comes after the kingdom announced over the weekend that 18 Saudis had been arrested in the writer’s slaying, while four senior intelligence officials and an adviser to the crown prince had been fired.

The kingdom is trying to distance Prince Mohammed bin Salman from Khashoggi’s Oct. 2 slaying at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Turkish reports said a member of his entourage was involved in the crime.

On Wednesday, the prince called the killing “heinous” and “painful to all Saudis” in his first extensive public remarks on the topic.

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1:45 p.m.

The state-run Saudi Press Agency says Saudi prosecutors are calling the killing of Jamal Khashoggi a premeditated crime.

A statement Thursday quoted Saudi Attorney General Saud al-Mojeb as saying that investigators came to that conclusion after evidence presented by Turkish officials as part of the two nations’ investigation into the killing.

Khashoggi was killed Oct. 2 at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Saudi Arabia had insisted for weeks that Khashoggi had walked out of the consulate, before changing their account to say he died in a brawl.

A member of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s entourage on foreign trips was seen at the consulate before the Washington Post columnist’s slaying.

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12:20 p.m.

Turkey has been focusing on a well in the garden of Saudi Arabia’s consulate as part of its investigation into the killing by Saudi officials of writer Jamal Khashoggi, whose body is still missing.

There were conflicting reports Thursday about whether investigators had searched the well in a case that has geopolitical implications because of the Saudi-Turkish rivalry in the Mideast region, as well as the U.S. alliance with both countries.

Yeni Safak, a pro-government Turkish newspaper, says investigators emptied the well and are awaiting the results of an analysis of the water to determine whether body parts were dumped there.

But Sabah, another pro-government newspaper, says Saudi Arabia has yet to give Turkish authorities permission for a search.

Copyright © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.



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