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

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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