Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi 'was killed inside Saudi consulate'

Charlene Craig
October 7, 2018

Lebanese media say Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi who is suspected to have disappeared in Turkey's Istanbul has been flown to Riyadh.

Khashoggi maintained ties with Saudi elites, including those in its intelligence apparatus, and launched a satellite news channel, Al-Arab, from Bahrain in 2015 with the backing of Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.

On Saturday Saudi Arabia's consul-general in Istanbul, Mohammad al-Otaibi, opened up his mission to Reuters to show that Khashoggi was not on the premises, and said talk of his abduction was groundless. Human rights campaigners have also demanded the Saudi authorities to clarify the issue. "We believe that the murder was premeditated and the body was subsequently moved out of the consulate", one of two Turkish officials told Reuters on Saturday.

He vanished on Tuesday while on a visit to the Saudi consulate.

'If this is true - that the Saudis lured a US resident into their consulate and murdered him - it should represent a fundamental break in our relationship with Saudi Arabia, ' Murphy wrote on Twitter.

'Based on their initial findings, the police believe that the journalist was killed by a team especially sent to Istanbul and who left the same day, ' the government source told AFP on Saturday.

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Specifically, the Post reported that Turkish investigators believe a 15-member team "came from Saudi Arabia". Both spoke on condition of anonymity as the investigation was ongoing.

A USA official said Turkish government officials have concluded that Khashoggi was likely killed inside the consulate by a team that flew in with two private jets.

The official did not provide details on how the body had been carried out or whether it had been found.

Ankara and Riyadh have given contradictory versions of the circumstances of Khashoggi's disappearance. "And we unfortunately regret some of the statements that have been made by Turkish officials who insist that (Khashoggi is) in the consulate. without it being built on facts".

On Tuesday, he went to the consulate to obtain a document certifying he had divorced his ex-wife, so that he could marry his Turkish fiancée, Hatice Cengiz.

The Chief Public Prosecutor's Office in Istanbul initiated an investigation on the day of the incident while the consulate also said on Twitter that it was working in coordination with Turkish authorities.

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The killing, if confirmed, would mark a stunning escalation of Saudi Arabia's effort to silence dissent.

Khashoggi is a longtime Saudi journalist, foreign correspondent, editor and columnist whose work has been controversial in the past in the ultraconservative Sunni kingdom.

Rather, he has always been a pillar of the Saudi establishment who was close to its ruling circles for decades, had worked as an editor at Saudi news outlets and had been an adviser to a former Saudi intelligence chief.

Prince Mohammed earlier denied in an interview with Bloomberg that the journalist had been inside the consulate and said Turkish authorities could search the building, which is Saudi sovereign territory.

The Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

"I would like to confirm that".

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