Jamal Khashoggi Wiki, Age, Death, Wife, Children, Family, Biography & More

Jamal Khashoggi

Jamal Khashoggi was a Saudi Arabian dissident, author, and columnist who was known for his columns on the Arab world for the American daily The Washington Post. He was the editor-in-chief of Al-Arab News Channel and newspapers like Al Madina, Al Watan, and Al Arab. On October 2, 2018, he was killed by agents of the Saudi government.


Jamal Ahmad Khashoggi [1]The Guardian was born on Monday, October 13, 1958 (age 59 years at the time of death), in Medina, Saudi Arabia. Jamal’s schooling was done in Saudi Arabia. He gained a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Indiana State University in Terre Haute in 1982. [2]The Guardian In 1983, he acquired a degree in Journalism from Indiana State University. [3]VOA News

Physical Appearance

Hair Color: Salt & Pepper

Eye Color: Dark Brown

Jamal Khashoggi

Family & Ethnicity

Jamal Khashoggi was of Turkish and South Arabian descendent. [4]The Guardian His ancestors hailed from the Kayseri province of Central Anatolia in Turkey. During the Ottoman time, his ancestors migrated to the western Hejaz region of the Arabian peninsula, where they served the Ottoman Empire for centuries. Jamal’s surname Khashoggi comes from the Turkish word ‘Kasikci,’ meaning spoon-maker. His family is associated with Turkey and still is regular on news. [5]Bloomberg

Parents & Siblings

His father, Ahmed Hamza Khashoggi, was the owner of a fabric shop. His mother’s name is Esaaf al Dafterdar. Jamal has three brothers; Sahl bin Ahmed Khashoggi; Sheikh Riad Ahmed Khashoggi, author, scholar, and the first industrial engineer in Saudi Arabia; Wajdi Khashoggi. He has three sisters; Samiha, Sanah, and Salwa Khashoggi.

A picture of Jamal Khashoggi's parents and his siblings, Samiha and Riad Khashoggi, in 1969

A picture of Jamal Khashoggi’s parents and his siblings, Samiha and Riad Khashoggi, in 1969

Riad Khashoggi

Riad Khashoggi

Wife & Children

He had married and divorced three times in his life. In his first marriage to Rawia al-Tunisi, he became father to four children; two sons named Salah Jamal and Abdullah Jamal Khashoggi; two daughters named Noha and Razan Jamal Khashoggi. All of his children studied in the US and two of them have US citizenship.

Jamal Khashoggi's son, Abdullah

Jamal Khashoggi’s son, Abdullah

Jamal Khashoggi's son, Salah

Jamal Khashoggi’s son, Salah

Jamal Khashoggi's children and grandchildren

Jamal Khashoggi’s children and grandchildren

He was also married to Dr. Alaa Nassif.

Jamal Khashoggi with his ex-wife Dr. Alaa Nassif

Jamal Khashoggi with his ex-wife Dr. Alaa Nassif

In June 2018, he took a marriage oath with an Egyptian woman named Hanan El-Atr in a secret ceremony but did not obtain a marriage license.

Jamal Khashoggi with Hanan Atr

Jamal Khashoggi with Hanan Atr

Before his death, he was engaged to the Turkish woman Hatice Cengiz, who is a 36-year-old researcher at a university in Istanbul. In May 2018, Jamal and Hatice met for the first time during a conference in Istanbul. He was planning to marry Hatice and getting documents for their marriage prepared before he was assassinated.

Jamal Khashoggi with Hatice Cengiz

Jamal Khashoggi with Hatice Cengiz

Other Relatives

His grandfather, Sheikh Hamza al Khashoggi, had dealings with Lawrence of Arabia. His granduncle and Sheikh Hamza’s brother, Muhammad Khashoggi (married to Samiha Ahmed Setti), was the personal physician to Ibn Saʻūd, the founder and first king of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Dr. Muhammad Khashoggi

Dr. Muhammad Khashoggi

His paternal uncle and Muhammad Khashoggi’s son, Adnan Khashoggi, was a Saudi businessman and arms dealer known for his lavish business deals and lifestyle.

Adnan Khashoggi

Adnan Khashoggi

His paternal aunt (Muhammad Khashoggi’s daughter) Samira Khashoggi was a Saudi Arabian progressive author and owner and editor-in-chief of Alsharkiah magazine.

Samira Khashoggi

Samira Khashoggi

His paternal aunt (Muhammad Khashoggi’s daughter) Soheir Khashoggi was a famous Egyptian-born Saudi Arabian novelist.

Soheir Khashoggi

Soheir Khashoggi

His cousin Dodi Fayed, son of Samira Khashoggi, was an Egyptian film producer known for being the lover of Princess of Wales Diana who died with her.

Dodi Fayed and Princess Diana

Dodi Fayed and Princess Diana

His cousin Nabila Khashoggi is an American businesswoman and actress.

Nabila Khashoggi

Nabila Khashoggi

His cousin Emad Khashoggi is a French-Saudi businessman and the head of COGEMAD.

Emad Khashoggi

Emad Khashoggi


In 1983, Jamal Khashoggi started working as a regional manager for Tihama Bookstores, where he worked for a year. For the next two years (1985-87), he worked with the English daily Saudi Gazette as a correspondent and later with South Arabian daily Okaz as an assistant manager. Till 1990, he worked for dailies and weeklies such as Asharq Al-Awsat, Al Majalla, and Al Muslimoon. From 1991 to 1999, he worked as the managing editor and editor-in-chief of Al Madina, and at the same time, he was a foreign correspondent in countries such as Afghanistan, Algeria, Kuwait, Sudan, and the Middle East, and there were claims of him working for the Saudi Arabian Intelligence Agency and the United States in Afghanistan. From 1999 to 2003, he was the editor-in-chief of Arab News. In 2003, he joined the Saudi Arabian daily Al Watan as its editor-in-chief but was expelled after two months for allowing a columnist to write against the Islamic scholar Ibn Taymiyyah (1263–1328) (an important figure of Wahhabism) by the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Information. Right after he was expelled, he went on a self-imposed exile to London, where he worked as a media advisor to Prince Turki Al Faisal, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States.

Prince Turki Al Faisal

Prince Turki Al Faisal

In April 2007, Jamal returned to Saudi and became editor-in-chief of Al Watan for a second time, but faced the dismissal again after he allowed a column by poet Ibrahim al-Almaee, challenging the basic Salafi premises, be published in Al Watan in 2010. An announcement from Al Watan stated,

Khashoggi resigned as editor-in-chief to focus on his personal projects.”

Khashoggi maintained his relationship with Saudi Arabian elites, including those in its intelligence network. In 2015, he started Al-Arab, an independent satellite news channel, based in Bahrain outside Saudi Arabia. Al-Arab partnered with U.S. financial news channel Bloomberg Television and began with the support of Saudi Arabian billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal. However, eleven hours after its first broadcast, the channel was put down, and the explanation given was that the channel had failed to acquire the required license to begin broadcasting in the country. According to an Arabic daily, Akhbar Alkhaleej,

Programming was suspended because the station aired footage of a member of the Bahraini opposition, Khalil Al Marzooq, which was deemed offensive to the government.”

Jamal was also a political commentator for Saudi Arabian and international channels, which includes channels like MBC, BBC, Al Jazeera, and Dubai TV. From June 2012 to September 2016, he wrote opinion columns for Al Arabiya regularly. In his journalistic career in Saudi, he reported on events like Soviet- Afgan War and the rise of Osama bin Laden. In June 2017, he shifted his base to the United States, and in September 2017, he began working as a columnist for The Washington Post, where he wrote articles against Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.

Jamal Khashoggi's column in The Washington Post

Jamal Khashoggi’s column in The Washington Post

Political Views

Jamal Khashoggi had criticized Saudi’s stand on Wahhabism and had said Saudi to seek a way to keep Islam together with secularism. According to Jamal,

Saudi Arabia should return to its pre-1979 climate when the government restricted hard-line Wahhabi traditions. Women today should have the same rights as men. And all citizens should have the right to speak their minds without fear of imprisonment. Saudis must find a way where we can accommodate secularism and Islam, something like what they have in Turkey. What the Arab world needs most is free expression. Arab world free press independent from national governments would develop so that ordinary people in the Arab world would be able to address the structural problems their societies face.”

He had condemned Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen in 2015, Saudi Arabia-led Qatar diplomatic crisis 2017, 2017 Lebanon–Saudi Arabia dispute, Saudi Arabia’s diplomatic dispute with Canada in 2018, and Kingdom’s crackdown on dissent and media. He also condemned the arrest of women rights activists like Loujain al-Hathloul, Eman al-Nafjan, Aziza al-Yousef, and several others, who were involved in the women to drive movement and the anti-male-guardianship campaign. In his columns, he repeatedly spoke against the policies of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. In an article from the Washington Post, he wrote,

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, known by his initials, MBS, is signaling that any open opposition to Saudi domestic policies, even ones as egregious as the punitive arrests of reform-seeking Saudi women, is intolerable. while MBS is right to free Saudi Arabia from ultra-conservative religious forces, he is wrong to advance a new radicalism that, while seemingly more liberal and appealing to the West, is just as intolerant of dissent. MBS’s rash actions are deepening tensions and undermining the security of the Gulf states and the region as a whole.”

He also denounced Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s government in Egypt after Sisi’s military coup removed President Mohamed Morsi in 2013. According to him,

Egypt has jailed 60,000 opposition members and is deserving of criticism as well. Despite U.S. President Barack Obama’s declared support for democracy and change in the Arab world in the wake of the Arab Spring, then President Barack Obama did not take a strong position and reject the coup against President-elect Mohamed Morsi. The coup, as we know, led to the military’s return to power in the largest Arab country – along with tyranny, repression, corruption and mismanagement.”

Jamal also condemned Iran’s Shi’a sectarianism. In an article from 2016, he wrote,

Iran looks at the region, particularly Syria, from a sectarian angle. The militias Tehran is relying on, some of which come from as far as Afghanistan, are sectarian. They raid Syrian villages with sectarian slogans, bringing to life conflicts from over a thousand years ago. With blood and sectarianism, Iran is redrawing the map of the region.”

Awards & Honors

  • In 2019, he received the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers Golden Pen of Freedom Award.
  • On 11 December 2018, Time magazine named Jamal Person of the Year in journalism, along with other journalists who lost their lives due to politics for their work. Time termed Jamal and other journalists as the ‘Guardian of the Truth.’
    Jamal Khashoggi - Time Person of the Year

Assassination of Khashoggi


Jamal Khashoggi began getting in the nerves of Saudi’s royal court after he began writing columns against the Saudi government, criticizing Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammad bin Salman, and the country’s King Salman on The Washington Post in 2017.

Saudi Arabia's King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman

The pro-regime bots employed by Saud al-Qahtani (an official tasked by Crown Prince with implementing a zero-tolerance crackdown on dissent on social media) on Twitter began harassing Khashoggi. To fight online abuse, Jamal and Omar Abdelaziz (one of the most visible public critics of the Saudi regime in Canada) launched several projects, one of them being ‘Geish al-Nahl’ (Army of the Bees or The Bees Army) that was started to counter regime’s propaganda machinery. The Bees Army was a network of pro-democracy activists who would post and amplify each other’s posts on Saudi political issues. According to Abdulaziz,

They wanted to talk about the dissidents, the political prisoners, freedom of speech, human rights and make people aware of what’s really happening.”

Omar Abdelaziz

Omar Abdelaziz

In Jamal’s last column, which was posthumously published in The Washington Post, he wrote,

What the Arab world needs most is free expression”

Jamal and Omar were also working on a short film, which would show how the Saudi leadership was dividing the country. They tried to keep their work secret from Saudi persecution, but couldn’t do so, as Omar’s cellphone was infected with NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware in the summer of 2018, done by the regime. The spyware brought direct information on Jamal and projects against the regime in Saudi. Omar Abdulaziz recalled,

Jamal was very polite in public, but in private, he spoke more freely – he was very very critical of the crown prince.”

In late September 2018, Jamal and his other friends in London discussed his varied plans. On September 21, affirmed his support towards the Bees Movement, just eleven days before his assassination, using the Bee Army’s first hashtag “what do you know about bees,” he tweeted,

They love their home country and defend it with truth and rights.”

Khashoggi’s Disappearance

Throughout 2017, the House of Saud made several appeals to Jamal, asking him to return to Riyadh to resume his services as a media advisor to the royal court. Jamal did not agree in a fear of it being a ruse and that he could be imprisoned or worse. In late 2017 or early 2018, he met Prince Khalid (crown prince Mohammed’s brother) at the Saudi embassy in Washington, where Khalid told him on behalf of his brother that the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul would be safe for him. Jamal wanted to marry Hatice Cengiz, so he required to visit the embassy to retrieve the paperwork (that certified him as ‘no longer married’) for his pending marriage, but after trying out every means, he failed to complete the paperwork in the US and was lured to the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. On September 28, 2018, he made an unannounced visit to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, where he was told to return on October 2. Before his visit, he looked for assurances on his safety from friends in the US. He had already instructed his fiancée to contact the Turkish authorities if he failed to return. He traveled to London to speak at a conference on September 29 and returned to Istanbul on October 1. The same day, at around 4:30 pm, three Saudi nationals arrived in Istanbul on a scheduled flight, who checked in to their hotels, and then went on a visit to the consulate. At the same time, a group of officials from the consulate made a visit to a forest in Istanbul’s outskirts and went on a “reconnaissance” trip to the nearby city of Yalova. The next day in the morning, a team of 15 people from Riyadh reached Istanbul on two private Gulfstream jets.

Jamal Khashoggi's assasins arriving at the airport

Jamal Khashoggi’s assassins arriving at the airport

On October 2, 2018, the suspected team went inside the consulate at around noon. After an hour, Jamal and his fiancee reached the consulate. Jamal handed two cellphones to his fiancee who waited for him outside. Around 1 pm, Jamal went inside the consulate through the main entrance and did not return even by 4 pm, when the working hours of the consulate were till 3:30 pm.

Jamal Khashoggi entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul

Jamal Khashoggi entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul

After long hours of waiting, when Jamal did not come out of the consulate, Hatice contacted Turkish authorities and called Yasin Aktay, Jamal’s friend and an adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and reported Jamal missing.

A CCTV footage showing Jamal Khashoggi's fiancee waiting for him outside the Saudi consulate

A CCTV footage showing Jamal Khashoggi’s fiancee waiting for him outside the Saudi consulate

Soon after the investigation of his disappearance begun, the Saudi government made an official statement, saying Jamal had left through the back entrance of the consulate. While his fiancee and friends claimed Jamal missing, the Turkish government stated that Jamal was still inside the consulate. Turkish police investigators reported to the media that no recordings from the security cameras showed any trace of Jamal Khashoggi leaving the consulate.

Killing & Investigation

During the investigation, the reports began circulating that a 15-member team called ‘The Tiger Squad’ (from Saudi Arabia) tortured and killed Jamal inside the consulate. According to a report of Middle East Eye on October 16, Jamal was killed in about seven minutes, and the forensic specialist Salah Muhammed al-Tubaigy (a member of the squad), who had brought a bone saw with him, dismembered Jamal while he was still breathing, as Salah and his colleagues listened to music. According to an anonymous source,

Khashoggi was dragged from consul-general Mohammad al-Otaibi’s office at the Saudi consulate … Tubaigy began to cut Khashoggi’s body up on a table in the study while he was still alive and there was no attempt to interrogate him. They had come to kill him.”

A report from The Wall Street Journal stated that the top Saudi diplomat Mohammad al-Otaibi, Saudi Arabia’s consul-general, saw Jamal’s torture. On October 16, Mohammad al-Otaibi had fled from Istanbul to Riyadh after he came to know about the search that would take place at his home concerning Jamal’s disappearance. On 20 October, Saudi’s first acknowledgment of Jamal’s death came through the Saudi Foreign Ministry’s report, which stated that Jamal had died while engaging in a fight at the consulate. According to BBC’s report of October 20, the royal court officials Saud al-Qahtani and Ahmad Asiri were fired by the Saudi royal court for their involvement in Khashoggi’s killing. According to a report of October 21, a man named Maher Mutreb drugged and kidnapped Jamal, who was restrained with a chokehold that resulted in his death. Reuters quoted a Turkish intelligence source and a high-ranking official (with links to the Royal court) in an article of October 22. The source told Reuters that Saud al-Qahtani had made a Skype call (believed to be with Erdogan) to the consulate while Jamal was in the room. Reportedly, Qahtani insulted Jamal and asked the people inside the room to kill him. According to the source, Qahtani had instructed,

Bring me the head of the dog.”

According to Daily Sabah’s journalist Nazif Karaman, Jamal Khashoggi’s last words according to the audio recording from inside the consulate were,

I’m suffocating… take this bag off my head, I’m claustrophobic.”

On December 10, an unknown source gave the details of the transcript of the audio from inside of the consulate to CNN. On November 16, a Hürriyet columnist wrote that Turkey had more evidence of Jamal’s killing, including a second audio recording from the consulate in which the Saudi team reviewed Jamal’s assassination plan. The columnist also reported,

Turkish officials also did not confirm [Saudi prosecutor’s claim] that Khashoggi was killed after they gave him a fatal dose of drug. They say that he was strangulated with a rope or something like a plastic bag.”

On October 22, after the Saudi Foreign Ministry confirmed Khashoggi’s death, a CCTV law enforcement footage from the Turkish authorities was aired on CNN, which showed Mustafa al-Madani (a member of the 15-member group), dressed in Jamal’s clothes (except for shoes), leaving the consulate from its back doorway. CNN reported,

CNN has obtained exclusive law enforcement surveillance footage, part of the Turkish government’s investigation, that appears to show the man leaving the Saudi consulate by the back door, wearing Khashoggi’s clothes, a fake beard, and glasses. The same man was seen in Khashoggi’s clothing, according to the Turkish case, at the city’s world-famous Blue Mosque just hours after the journalist was last seen alive entering the consulate on October 2.

Images from CCTV showing Jamal Khashoggi (left) and Mustafa al-Madani (rights; dressed in Jamal's clothes)

Images from CCTV showing Jamal Khashoggi (left) and Mustafa al-Madani (rights; dressed in Jamal’s clothes)

According to a Turkish official,

In the apparent cover-up that followed Khashoggi’s death, Madani, 57, who is of similar height, age and build to Khashoggi, 59, was used as a decoy for the journalist. You don’t need a body double for a rendition or an interrogation, This was a premeditated murder and the body was moved out of the consulate.”

On October 31, a report from a senior Turkish official stated that the Turkish authorities had discovered the biological evidence to support the theory about Jamal’s body being dissolved in acid on the grounds of the consulate garden. On March 4, 2019, Al Jazeera Arabic released a documentary on Jamal Khashoggi’s murder investigation and a subsequent coverup, which stated that the disposal of Jamal’s body was done by burning it in an oven at the Saudi consulate general’s residence. The oven’s builder, in an interview, revealed that the oven was modeled to be “deep” and capable of resisting temperatures over 1,000 °C (1,830 °F). According to the report, the body was burned for three days in parts after which a large quantity of barbecue meat was prepared to cover the evidence. According to some reports, there were instances of people who were sent with the investigative team to destroy the evidence of murder and cover it up.


On November 15, 2018, eleven Saudi nationals were indicted and charged for the murder of Jamal by the Saudi Prosecutor’s Office. Five out of which, who were directly involved in ordering and execution of the murder, were to face the death penalty. Prosecutors claimed that shortly after Jamal entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, he was bound, given an overdose of a sedative that resulted in his death, mutilated, taken out of the consulate by the five accused, and given to a local collaborator for disposal. Saudi officials maintained that the Saudi Royal family was not involved in order or sanction for the murder. While the publications like The New York Times and The Washington Post continued to accuse crown prince Mohammad bin Salman of being involved in Khashoggi’s murder, the CIA maintained that the crown prince had nothing to do with the killing. In the middle of the reports (stating crown prince role in the killing), Saudis, CIA spokesman, White House, and the US State Department refused to comment. On November 20, 2018, the then US President Donald Trump stated,

On Standing with Saudi Arabia, our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information, but it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event – maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!”

In a series of interviews, Trump supported the crown prince and denied his involvement firmly. Other reports circulating stated that the CIA possessed the intercepted phone call between the crown prince and his brother Khalid planning for his murder. On September 29, 2019, Mohammed bin Salman made an appearance in an interview with the CBS ’60 Minutes.’ In the interview, Salman stated that he had no involvement in the assassination of Jamal, nor did he have prior knowledge about it, but he bore responsibility for the murder because it happened under his watch. He also said,

Once charges are proven against someone, regardless of their rank, it will be taken to court, no exception made.”

Mohammed bin Salman in CBS 60 Minutes

Mohammed bin Salman in CBS 60 Minutes

On March 25, 2020, 20 Saudi nationals were indicted by Turkish prosecutors over the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi. The former royal adviser Saud al-Qahtani and Saudi’s former deputy intelligence chief Ahmed al-Assiri were charged with inciting the murder; they were both investigated by Saudis in 2019 but were acquitted or not charged. On July 1, 2020, the opening of the trial in the absence of 20 indicted Saudi nationals was declared by a Turkish court. On July 6, 2020, the United Kingdom imposed sanctions on 20 Saudi Arabian nationals.

List of Alleged Perpetrators

Out of the 15-member team that killed Jamal, seven were reported to be Mohammed bin Salman’s personal bodyguards. Given below is the list of alleged perpetrators:

  • Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, a former diplomat in London, was photographed with Mohammad bin Salman on trips to Madrid, Paris, Houston, Boston, and New York- convicted and sanctioned by US Treasury
  • Salah Mohammed al-Tubaigy, the head of the Saudi Scientific Council of Forensics – convicted and sanctioned by US Treasury
  • Abdulaziz Mohammed al-Hasawi, worked as one of Mohammed bin Salman’s personal bodyguards
  • Thaer Ghaleb al-Harbi, a member of the Saudi Royal Guard – sanctioned by US Treasury.
  • Mohammed Saad al-Zahrani, a member of the Saudi Royal Guard – sanctioned by US Treasury
  • Meshal Saad al-Bostani, a lieutenant in the Saudi Air Force who died in a car accident in Riyadh on return to Saudi Arabia – sanctioned by US Treasury
  • Naif Hassan al-Arefe
  • Mustafa Mohammed al-Madani, Khashoggi’s body double who left in Khashoggi’s clothing from the Saudi consulate by the back door – sanctioned by US Treasury
  • Mansur Uthman Abahussein – sanctioned by US Treasury
  • Waleed Abdullah al-Shehri – convicted and sanctioned by US Treasury
  • Turki Musharraf al-Shehri – convicted and sanctioned by US Treasury
  • Fahad Shabib al-Balawi – convicted and sanctioned by US Treasury
  • Saif Saad al-Qahtani, not charged and released – sanctioned by US Treasury
  • Khalid Aedh al-Taibi – sanctioned by US Treasury
  • Badir Lafi al-Otaibi – sanctioned by US Treasury
  • Ahmad Asiri, the deputy head of the Saudi intelligence agency ‘Riasat Al-Mukhabarat Al-A’amah’ – sanctioned by US Treasury
A collage of alleged perpetrators in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi

A collage of alleged perpetrators in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi

Trial & Conviction

The trial was conducted in secret, only diplomats and Khashoggi’s family members were allowed to attend but were not allowed to speak. The court held the official line that Jamal’s assassination was not pre-planned. At the trial, ten people were questioned but released due to lack of evidence. Eleven people were put on trial by the court and the trial was conducted on ten hearings, which was closed to the public. On December 23, 2019, five people were given death sentences for carrying out Jamal’s killing. The people were,

  • Fahad Shabib Albalawi
  • Turki Muserref Alshehri
  • Waleed Abdullah Alshehri
  • Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb
  • Dr. Salah Mohammed Tubaigy

The indictee Saud al-Qahtani was released without any charges and indictees Ahmed al-Assiri and Mohammed al-Otaibi were released due to lack of evidence. Three other unnamed indictees were given a sentence of 24 years in prison combined for covering up the crime and violating the law. The eight Saudis convicted in the murder could appeal further. On September 7, 2020, the eight convicts were given final sentences by the Criminal Court in Riyadh. Five of them received 20 years in prison, one was given a 10-year sentence, and the other two received seven-year sentences in prison. The 20-year prison terms were given after Khashoggi’s family decided to pardon them. The judgment was condemned worldwide for being a ‘mockery of justice and for lack of transparency or fairness.’

Favorite Things

  • Dessert: Jalebi
  • Writer: Muḥammad ‘Abduh
  • Book: The Return of Consciousness by Tawfiq al-Hakim
  • Travel Destination: London


  • Khashoggi was regarded as an observant Muslim, whose views were moderately Islamist. According to some of his acquaintances,

    He was too Islamist for secular-minded liberals but too liberal for traditional conservative Wahhabis.”

    There have been several claims by his friends that he joined a Muslim Brotherhood school early in his life. Eventually, he stopped attending the meetings of the brotherhood but stayed attached to conservative, Islamist, and in anti-western rhetoric. While working as a journalist, he used to lead communal prayers in his newsrooms, and like many other Saudis in the 1980s, he supported jihad against the Soviets in Afghanistan. [6]The Guardian

  • In the 1980s and 1990s, Jamal Khashoggi was friends with Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan. In his career as a journalist, he took Osama’s interviews several times and usually met Laden in Tora Bora and Sudan. According to The Washington Post columnist David Ignatius,

    Khashoggi couldn’t have traveled with the mujahideen that way without tacit support from Saudi intelligence, which was coordinating aid to the fighters as part of its cooperation with the CIA against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. … Khashoggi criticized Prince Salman, then governor of Riyadh and head of the Saudi committee for support to the Afghan mujahideen, for unwisely funding Salafist extremist groups that were undermining the war.”

    Jamal Khashoggi with Osama bin Laden

    Jamal Khashoggi with Osama bin Laden

  • In Afghanistan in the 1980s, while working for a news organization, Jamal Khashoggi was offered to meet Osama Bin Laden. While visiting Osama, Jamal wore a local dress and had his photo taken while holding an assault rifle. According to a journalist who had interviewed Jamal about his time in Afganistan,

    He was there as a journalist first and foremost, admittedly as someone sympathetic to the Afghan jihad, but so were most Arab journalists at the time — and many Western journalists.”

    Jamal Khashoggi holding an assault rifle

    Jamal Khashoggi holding an assault rifle

  • According to Al Arabiya’s reports, seeing Osama going on the wrong path, Jamal once tried to persuade him to quit violence. Khashoggi said,

    I was very much surprised [in 1997] to see Osama turning into radicalism the way he did.”

    According to Khashoggi, he was the only non-royal Saudi who knew of Saudi royal’s intimate dealing with al-Qaeda in the lead-up to the September 11 attacks. Following the attacks, he broke away from Osama. Khashoggi wrote,

    The most pressing issue now is to ensure that our children can never be influenced by extremist ideas like those 15 Saudis who were misled into hijacking four planes that fine September day, piloting them, and us, straight into the jaws of hell.”

    In 2011, after American commandos killed Osama, Jamal showed grievance over his death. Jamal wrote on Twitter,

    I collapsed crying a while ago, heartbroken for you Abu Abdullah. You were beautiful and brave in those beautiful days in Afghanistan, before you surrendered to hatred and passion.”

  • Jamal wrote his first book ‘Elaqat Hreja,’ which was published in 2002. Later, he wrote two more books titled Ihtalal Asuq Asaudi (2013) and Rabea Alarab, Zamen Alekhwan (2016).

    The cover art of Elaqat Hreja (2002)

    The cover art of Elaqat Hreja (2002)

  • According to an article from Forensic News, Jamal Khashoggi had worked for Wikistrat, a geostrategic analysis and business consultancy firm. When the inspection of Jamal’s murder began, Wikistrat denied any connection to Jamal, but later admitted in an email to Forensic News that Jamal had indeed worked at the firm. According to some articles, Joel Zamel (the founder of Wikistrat) met General Ahmed al Assiri (Saudi general who ordered Khashoggi’s assassination) in early 2017 to discuss secret operations to destabilize Iran. One of the topics discussed was assassinating dissidents, which, according to Zamel’s lawyer, was turned down by Zamel.
  • In 2018, Khashoggi launched Democracy for the Arab World Now, a nonprofit organization that promotes democracy, the rule of law, and human rights for the people of the Middle East and North Africa.

    Democracy for the Arab World Now Logo

    Democracy for the Arab World Now Logo

  • In December 2018, the Washington Post wrote about Khashoggi and stated that his columns (many times) were shaped by an organization funded by Qatar, the regional nemesis of Saudi Arabia, which included proposing topics, providing drafts, giving titles, and giving research.
  • After his death, the US faced many political challenges, as Donald Trump was accused of supporting Jamal’s murderer and crown prince Mohammed bin Salman. In January 2021, with the US administration coming under Joe Biden, the report of Jamal’s assassination, blocked earlier by the Trump administration, was made public. In February 2021, the US State Department put 76 Saudi nationals on the no-travel list, and the Treasury Department imposed financial restrictions on Saudi officials involved in Khashoggi’s assassination. In early March 2021, a bill was introduced to impose sanctions on Mohammed bin Salman.
  • On October 22, 2018, Jamal Khashoggi’s son (Salah) and brother (Sahl) were invited for a photo session with King Salman and Prince Mohammed bin Salman at Al Yamaha Palace in Riyadh. As the photos of the incident went viral, the news of Jamal’s children (all four) being banned from leaving the country (since 2017) started circulating. A family friend named Yehia Assiri described the event as,

    A serious assault on the family.”

    The Saudi Royal Family greeting Jamal Khashoggi's son and brother

    The Saudi Royal Family greeting Jamal Khashoggi’s son and brother

  • After the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, several other exiled Saudi activists reported that the Saudi regime was trying to lure him into their embassies. According to a source, the killing of Jamal was part of a larger operation to silence the critics of the Saudi government by a death squad called ‘Tiger Squad,’ whose members were reportedly a part of the 15-member team that killed Jamal. The squad was assassinating the activist on the pretext of routine health check-ups while they injected toxic substances into the opponent’s bodies, planning car accidents, and house fires. Members of the Tiger Squad are recruited from various branches of the Saudi Army and are specialized in various fields.
  • Prior to his death, he made an appearance in several TV documentaries such as Dateline NBC (2002), National Geographic: Inside 9/11 (2005), and Jihad: The Men and Ideas Behind Al Qaeda (2006).
  • After his assassination, many TV channels produced episodes and TV documentaries like VICE Investigates (2019), Mord im Konsulat: Mohammed bin Salman und der Fall Khashoggi (2019), and Kingdom of Silence (2020), on Jamal’s murder.
    Kingdom of Silence (2020)
  • In 2020, the Oscar-winning film director and producer Brian Fogian created a documentary titled ‘The Dissident.’ The documentary tells of Khashoggi’s murder and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s role in it. The documentary had a limited release on December 25, 2020, followed by Video-on-Demand on January 8, 2021, released by Briarcliff Entertainment.
    The Dissident (2020)
  • In November 2018 in London, Amnesty International put a sign with Jamal’s name outside the Saudi embassy, a month after his disappearance. In January 2021, it was reported that the street along the Saudi Embassy in Washington D.C. would be named ‘Jamal Khashoggi’s Way’.

    Khashoggi Street sign put up by Amnesty International

    Khashoggi Street sign put up by Amnesty International

  • In 2019, the “Jamal Khashoggi – Award for Courageous Journalism” (JKA) was established, with five projects awarded up to US$5,000 each to support investigative journalism projects.
  • After escaping from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, he went to the United States, where he bought a condo in McLean, Virginia.
  • After leaving Saudi Arabia, Jamal spoke of missing Eid in Medina. An American friend recalled,

    He had vivid memories of growing up there. He longed to be home, like any exile.”

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