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From fistfight to death penalties — How Saudi Arabia changed its tone on Jamal Khashoggi’s killing – National




Saudi Arabia‘s public prosecutor announced Thursday that it will seek death penalties for five suspects charged in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

It maintained that neither Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, nor any member of the royal family, had knowledge of the plan to kill the Washington Post columnist.

WATCH: More coverage on the Khashoggi case

Deputy public prosecutor and spokesman Shalaan al-Shalaan told reporters that prosecutors have determined Khashoggi, a royal insider turned critic of Saudi policy, was killed in the country’s Istanbul consulate on Oct. 2, after a struggle by lethal injection.

The account doesn’t completely match the conclusions reached by Turkish officials. It’s also different from what Saudi Arabia has said previously.

The country has changed the tone of its investigation into Khashoggi’s murder, from complete denial to calling for death penalties.

Here’s what the Saudi officials said initially, and how they slowly changed the narrative.

Oct. 5: Prince Mohammed says Khashoggi left the consulate

Prince Mohammed tells Bloomberg that Khashoggi left the consulate in Istanbul shortly after he entered.

“My understanding is he entered and he got out after a few minutes or one hour,” he says. “I’m not sure. We are investigating this through the foreign ministry to see exactly what happened at that time.”

Oct. 11: Saudi media says “tourists” falsely accused of being kill team

Al-Arabiya, the Saudi-owned news channel, disputes Turkish media reports that a 15-person “assassination squad” landed in Turkey before the murder.

The state media says they were “tourists” falsely accused of being murderers.

Oct. 20: Saudi Arabia says Khashoggi was killed in “fistfight”

Saudi Arabia reveals the preliminary results of its investigation, saying that Khashoggi died after a “fistfight” in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

The state media newscast said that a fight broke out between Khashoggi and the people who met him in the Saudi consulate.

The public prosecutor says the investigation will continue with a focus on 18 Saudi suspects, who have been arrested.

READ MORE: Saudi Arabia says missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi is dead after fight

Oct. 21: Saudi foreign minister says Khashoggi death was ‘grave mistake’

Saudi Arabian officials do not know details of how Khashoggi was killed in its consulate or where his body is, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir says.

“He was killed in the consulate. We don’t know in terms of details how. We don’t know where the body is,” Jubeir said.

“We are determined to uncover every stone. … We are determined to punish those who are responsible for this murder.”

The Saudi official adds in an interview with Fox News: “Unfortunately, a huge and grave mistake was made and I assure them that those responsible will be held accountable for this.”

READ MORE: Saudi foreign minister says Khashoggi death was ‘grave mistake,’ don’t know how he was killed

Oct. 23: Saudi commits to “comprehensive” investigation into death

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister says the kingdom is committed to a “comprehensive investigation.”

He adds that the country has sent a team to Turkey and all those responsible for the journalist’s death would be detained.

READ MORE: Saudi foreign minister commits to ‘comprehensive’ probe of Jamal Khashoggi’s killing

Oct. 24: Saudi prince calls killing a “heinous” crime

Prince Mohammed says the death Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul is “painful to all Saudis,” and that the perpetrators will be held accountable.

The prince makes his first public remarks on the issue during a speech at the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh. The prince, who has come under suspicion of orchestrating the killing, called it a “heinous crime that cannot be justified.”

READ MORE: Khashoggi killing is a ‘heinous crime,’ Saudi crown prince says

Oct. 25: Saudi investigators admit killing was “premeditated”

Saudi Arabia‘s public prosecutor says Khashoggi’s murder was “premeditated,” citing a joint Saudi-Turkish investigation.

“Information from the Turkish side affirms that the suspects in Khashoggi’s case premeditated their crime,” a statement from the Saudi public prosecutor said.

READ MORE: Saudi Arabia admits Jamal Khashoggi murder was ‘premeditated’

Nov. 15: Saudi calls for death penalty in Khashoggi case

Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor seeks the death penalty for five out of 11 suspects charged in the murder of the journalist.

The deputy public prosecutor now says he was killed by a lethal injection and his body was dismembered and taken out of the building.

Turkey renews calls for Saudi Arabia to explain what happened to Khashoggi’s remains after they were removed from the consulate.

READ MORE: Saudi Arabia calls for death penalty for suspected Khashoggi killers

— With files from Reuters, The Associated Press

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali



Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

Contrary to the expectations of the people, the leadership of the Episcopal Conference of Mali (CEM) has termed the Tuesday, August 18 military coup in the West African nation as “regrettable” and “a big failure for our democracy” and called for a change of mentality if the country has to put an end to coups.

In an interview with ACI Africa Wednesday, August 19, made available to RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA, the President of CEM, Bishop Jonas Dembélé said that the governance challenges the country is facing can be managed through dialogue.

“The military coup that led to the ousting of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta is regrettable because we are in a state of law and democracy. This is the second time that Mali has had a military coup as a result of the way in which the country is governed. It is a big failure for our democracy even if there were reasons for it,” Bishop Dembélé told ACI Africa.

“It is true that our country has serious challenges including bad governance, the poor management of the economy, corruption, insecurity and so on,” Bishop Dembélé said and probed, “Why is it that we Malians have not managed to engage in dialogue to be able to discuss these problems and face up to these challenges responsibly?”

“Our leaders, our people lack transparency, they hate those who speak the truth and advocate for good governance. This mentality must change for our country to move on,” the Prelate told ACI Africa August 19.

Bishop Dembélé who is a frontline member of RECOWA-CERAO urged the military officials “to ensure a return to democracy as promised but most especially ensuring the new leadership of the country put the people first and tackle the security challenges facing the nation.”

Asked about the role of the Church in the current crisis, the 57-year-old Prelate noted, “For us the Catholic Church in Mali, our role is to preach peace; our role is to preach dialogue. We shall continue in this path of dialogue for peace just like Cardinal Jean Zerbo and some religious leaders initiated.”

“In a state of law, power is not in the hands of certain individuals but to the people. The anger of our people led to this crisis, but we must work for peace and reconciliation in Mali,” Bishop Dembélé said.

He continued in recollections, “The Bishops in Mali have always issued messages before every election in our country sounding the alert and inviting the government to organize transparent elections, ensure good governance and better management of resources.”
“But it seems our messages are never taken into consideration that is why we find ourselves in this situation today,” the Local Ordinary of Kayes Diocese told ACI Africa and added, “If the opinion of the Episcopal Conference of Mali is needed to mediate in bringing back stability and peace in the country, then we are ready.”

As a way forward, the Bishop urged the people of God in Mali to “seek the path to conversion” and to accept dialogue in the spirit of truth and honesty.
“We all want change in our

country, but this change can only be possible if individually we seek the path to conversion. It is for Malians be they Muslims or Christians or members of traditional religion, to do an examination of conscience and accept personal and community conversion in order to engage in sincere dialogue,” he said.

The Malian Prelate added, “Now there is this coup d’état to demand change we really wonder where change should come from. As long as we don’t change our behavior, our mentality, we will always have a repeat of the current situation.”

On Tuesday, August 18, President Keita announced his resignation and dissolved parliament hours after mutinying soldiers detained him at gunpoint, Aljazeera reported.
“For seven years, I have with great joy and happiness tried to put this country on its feet. If today some people from the armed forces have decided to end it by their intervention, do I have a choice? I should submit to it because I do not want any blood to be shed,” President Keita said August 18 during the televised address to the nation.

Rev. Fr. George Nwachukwu

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Harris accepts VP nomination



Harris accepts VP nomination

Senator Kamala Harris formally accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president on Wednesday following a scathing speech by former President Barack Obama, who said the fate of the nation” depends entirely on the outcome of this election.”

Both Mr. Obama and Harris stressed the importance of voting, with Harris saying “we’re all in this fight together.” Harris sounded an optimistic note by highlighting her personal history and the promise of America, saying she was “so inspired by a new generation.”

“Make no mistake, the road ahead will not be not easy,” she said. “We will stumble. We may fall short. But I pledge to you that we will act boldly and deal with our challenges honestly. We will speak truths. And we will act with the same faith in you that we ask you to place in us.” She called Mr. Trump a “predator” in a speech that came after Mr. Obama issued his most forceful rebuke of his successor to date, saying Mr. Trump “hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t.”

“This president and those in power — those who benefit from keeping things the way they are — they are counting on your cynicism,” Mr. Obama said. “They know they can’t win you over with their policies. So they’re hoping to make it as hard as possible for you to vote, and to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter.

That’s how they win. That’s how they get to keep making decisions that affect your life, and the lives of the people you love. That’s how the economy will keep getting skewed to the wealthy and well-connected, how our health systems will let more people fall through the cracks. That’s how a democracy withers, until it’s no democracy at all.”

Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton, speaking earlier in the night, both said they had hoped Mr. Trump would rise to the occasion. But they both stressed what they called his failures while in office, with Mr. Obama saying Mr. Trump has shown “no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves.”

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Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself



Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

The Malian soldiers who forced President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to resign in a coup promised early Wednesday to organize new elections after their takeover was swiftly condemned by the international community.

In a statement carried overnight on state broadcaster ORTM, the mutinous soldiers who staged Tuesday’s military coup identified themselves as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People led by Colonel Major Ismael Wagué.

“With you, standing as one, we can restore this country to its former greatness,” Wagué said, announcing that borders were closed and that a curfew was going into effect from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m

The news of Keita’s departure was met with jubilation by anti-government demonstrators in the capital, Bamako, and alarm by former colonial ruler France and other allies and foreign nations.

The U.N. Security Council scheduled a closed meeting Wednesday August 19, 2020 afternoon to discuss the unfolding situation in Mali, where the U.N. has a 15,600-strong peacekeeping mission. Keita, who was democratically elected in a 2013 landslide and re-elected five years later, still had three years left in his term.

But his popularity had plummeted, and demonstrators began taking to the streets calling for his ouster in June.

West African regional bloc ECOWAS had sent mediators to try and negotiate a unity government but those talks fell apart when it became clear that the protesters would not accept less than Keita’s resignation.

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