The oldest son of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was murdered by officials at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, has left the country with his family despite a travel ban.
Salah Khashoggi arrived in Washington Thursday, according to sources close to the family, just after he and other members of the Khashoggi family met with King Salman and Crown Prince bin Salman, who offered them their condolences, at the Yamama Palace in Riyadh Tuesday.
Images of the encounter sparked contrasting emotions on social media, as Salah can be seen showing a serious face when shaking hands with the man believed to be responsible for his father’s murder, raising speculations about the true nature of the event.
Some suggested the meeting had been staged as a public relations ploy to try and save some face of the heir prince, who had been breaking ground with projected popular reforms over the last few months.
The State Department deputy spokesman Robert Palladino said that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had pressured the Saudi government for Salah’s return to the US, as he holds dual citizenship.
Palladino said the US government is pressing the Saudis for “all the relevant facts” regarding the horrendous killing of the journalist on Oct. 2.
"We intend to consult with Congress and to work with other nations to hold accountable those responsible for the killing of Jamal Khashoggi," said Palladino.
The Saudi public prosecutor Thursday said the murder of Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and critic of the kingdom's de facto ruler bin Salman, was premeditated, contradicting previous statements that his death was unintended.
The Saudi government has been struggling to distance itself from any responsibility on the case, changing its position over time as new evidence surfaces.