Funeral prayers for Jamal Khashoggi ring out in absentia

Thousands of people across the world have gathered to pay their respects to Jamal Khashoggi, reciting funeral prayers in absentia because the journalist’s body has still not been found.

Six weeks after his killing by agents from Riyadh at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, prayers for the writer rang out at the prophet’s mosque in the holy Saudi Arabian city of Medina on Friday morning.

In Turkey, hundreds of mourners sheltered from the rain under canopies at Istanbul’s Fatih mosque, surrounding a blank slab of marble where his body should have lain in a shroud. They listened to the salat al gha’ib, a prayer performed when the body of the deceased has not been found, most often used for soldiers.

The Istanbul prayers were organised by the newly formed Friends of Khashoggi group, which will build on the journalist’s memory to “keep the ideals of the Arab spring alive”, Moncef Marzouki, a friend and former president of Tunisia, said in a statement.

Members of the Arab-Turkish Media Association and friends attend funeral prayers in Istanbul

Members of the Arab-Turkish Media Association and friends attend funeral prayers in Istanbul. Photograph: Emrah Gurel/AP

Similar ceremonies were scheduled in Mecca, London, Paris, Tunis and Washington DC after Friday’s afternoon prayers.

“After hearing the call by Hatice Cengiz, Khashoggi’s fiance, that Muslims around the world perform the funeral prayer, we believed the right thing to do was to respond,” said Anas Altikriti, the leader of the Muslim Association of Britain, who told al-Jazeera hundreds of people were expected at north London’s Finsbury Park mosque to remember the journalist on Friday evening.

Khashoggi’s eldest son, Salah, attended dawn prayers for his father in Medina. The family were also receiving mourners at home in nearby Jeddah for the next few days, he said on Twitter.

Salah and his brother Abdullah spoke about their father’s death for the first time earlier this month, issuing an emotional appeal to the Turkish and Saudi authorities for the return of Khashoggi’s body for burial at the family grave in Medina.

salah khashoggi

ستقام صلاة الغائب على الفقيد #جمال_خاشقجي بعد صلاة فجر الجمعة في المسجد النبوي الشريف بالمدينة المنورة، وبعد صلاة الجمعة بالمسجد الحرام بمكة المكرمة.

November 15, 2018

The Washington Post columnist and critic of the powerful Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, was killed by a team of men who flew from Riyadh to ambush him during a marriage paperwork appointment at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last month.

His body, which investigators believe was cut up and dissolved in acid at the nearby consul general’s house, has still not been found.

On Thursday, Riyadh offered an update on its investigation into the circumstances surrounding the writer’s death, announcing that it would pursue the death penalty for five people charged with his murder and try a further 16.

The Saudi deputy public prosecutor, Shaalan Shaalan, said for the first time that Riyadh believed Khashoggi’s body was dismembered and taken out of the consulate building in Istanbul, as in the Turkish version of events. The journalist was killed by lethal injection after resisting the rogue extradition attempt and Prince Mohammed was not implicated in the murder, a spokesperson for the prosecutor’s office added.

A woman holding a picture of Jamal Khashoggi at the courtyard of Fatih mosque in Istanbul

A woman holding a picture of Jamal Khashoggi at the courtyard of Fatih mosque in Istanbul. Photograph: Murad Sezer/Reuters

The latest of Saudi Arabia’s shifting explanations for Khashoggi’s death appears designed to shield the crown prince from allegations of responsibility for the crime.

The Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan – who has leaked evidence from the case to exert pressure on Prince Mohammed, a regional rival – has repeatedly said the suspects should be extradited for trial in Istanbul.

On Wednesday, Turkey’s foreign minister called for an international investigation into the case.

“We will do whatever it takes to bring the murder to light. We have shown the evidence to all those who wanted to see,” Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told parliament.