Saudi Arabia denies journalist killed at consulate in Turkey

Howard TerryOct 10, 2018

Khashoggi was previously a prominent newspaper editor in Saudi Arabia and an adviser to a former head of intelligence.

U.S. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said he and other lawmakers "agree if there was any truth to the allegations of wrongdoing by the Saudi government, it would be devastating to the U.S. -Saudi relationship and there will be a heavy price to be paid - economically and otherwise".

A Turkish official told the AP late Saturday that an "initial assessment" by police concluded Khashoggi had been killed at the consulate.

Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributor who had been published in the Arab and Western media, vanished last Tuesday after visiting the consulate to obtain official documents.

The Saudi consulate subsequently issued a statement saying that the journalist had left its premises on October 2, although the Turkish government, which summoned the Saudi ambassador in Ankara demanding explanations on the whereabouts of Khashoggi, said he remained inside the consular precinct. "I do not like it", he told reporters at the White House.

In a statement sent to journalists Monday, Prince Khalid bin Salman, the Saudi ambassador to Washington, said that reports the kingdom had detained or killed Khashoggi were "absolutely false and baseless".

Less than a day after saying he was "concerned" for Khashoggi, Trump said he would talk with Saudi officials "at some point".

The Committee to Protect Journalists said it was alarmed by reports Khashoggi may have been killed inside the consulate.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said senior U.S. officials were in communication with Riyadh and has called on for a transparent investigation.

Over the past year Khashoggi used his platform as a Washington Post columnist to criticize the policies of Saudi Arabia's powerful young crown prince, from the war in Yemen to the arrest of women's rights advocates.

It is suspected that the "murder" was possibly the handiwork of Saudi agents, and that the operation was conducted in order to silence Khashoggi.

Aksoy said the investigation was "continuing intensively", and that the Vienna Convention allowed for consulates to be searched by the authorities of the host country with the consent of the mission chief.

Flight records show two Saudi planes arrived at Istanbul's Ataturk airport on Tuesday and departed separately that same day, hours after Khashoggi was last seen.

He also complained that the Saudi consulate and authorities had ignored Turkish contacts following the disappearance of Khashoggi.

Saudi Arabia denies the suggestion. Relations were already strained after Turkey sent troops to the Gulf state of Qatar a year ago in a show of support after its Gulf neighbours, including Saudi Arabia, imposed an embargo on Doha.

The BBC was criticised on social media for airing the recordings without Mr Khashoggi's consent and before there is any definitive proof of his death.

Turkish officials say they have concrete evidence Khashoggi was murdered and his body was removed - but they haven't presented it.

The two countries have such an obligation under both criminal law and worldwide human rights law, she said.

"Do you not have cameras and everything of the sort?"

"I don't call myself an opposition: I always say I'm just a writer, I want a free environment to write and speak my mind and that's what I do in the Washington Post".

Mr Khashoggi was a regular contributor to The Post, and colleagues there have said he often expressed concern for his safety because of his writing. "Deeply troubled to hear reports about Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi".

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