In the weeks after the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed in Istanbul, the government of Saudi Arabia kept providing new explanations for what had happened. It took weeks before Riyadh admitted that Khashoggi was dead and that his compatriots had killed him.
Critics and world leaders say that Saudi Arabia still does not tell the whole truth, but the sons of Khashoggi are much more modest. 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 the American media since the Washington Post columnist, Jamal Khashoggi, was killed on October 2.
"The king has emphasized that all parties are being brought to justice. And I believe in it. That will happen. Otherwise [the Saudi government] would not have initiated an internal investigation, "said Salah Khashoggi, 35, to CNN.
What explains his measured comment?
Experts say he may try to protect himself and his family from reprisal by the government. His father's fame as a critic of the Saudi leadership had caused him problems in the past: a friend of Jamal Khashoggi told Associated Press that Salah, who has both US and Saudi citizenship, could not leave Saudi Arabia before his father was murdered.
Salah Khashoggi's approach could also reflect a genuine belief in the Saudi government – and skepticism over the way the Turkish government is investigating the murder. In the days after Jamal Khashoggi disappeared after joining the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, his first wife, Alaa Nassif, told the Saudi media that she knew nothing about his new bride, a Turkish citizen, and wondered why with his social environment bypassed media.
Nassif also expressed confidence in the Saudi government.
"All Saudi dissidents were not injured. no one was willing to hurt them, even if they were outside the country. This is a truth since the founding of the country. They might have said more than what Jamal said, and they were not hurt. There are many examples, "Nassif said in an interview with Al Arabiya English, a branch of the Saudi government.
There may even be differences within the family as to who Khashoggi was and how he should be remembered. One clue could be the way the Khashoggi brothers described their father on CNN.
In the interview, Abdullah Khashoggi called his father a "rock and roll star as a journalist" and someone "pushing the system a bit". His father was "courageous".
Salah Khashoggi offered a different picture of a "moderate man who shares common values". He was "a man who loved his country and believed in this land and its potential," he said. "Jamal has never been a dissident. … He believed in the transformation [Saudi Arabia] went through That way he should be remembered. "
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