Turkey demands that Saudis prove missing journalist left their consulate alive

Lester Mason
October 24, 2018

According to two sources quoted by The Washington Post, for which Khashoggi worked, the journalist died earlier this week at the hands of a Saudi assassination squad.

Turkish officials have said the authorities believe that Khashoggi was most likely slain inside the consulate building and that his body was later removed from the premises, though they haven't provided any evidence. He declines to say whether Khashoggi is facing any charges at home, adding: "If he's in Saudi Arabia, I would know that". "We hope that he is safe and that we can hear from him soon".

"God willing we will not be faced with the situation we do not desire", he added.

Eight days later, on October 2, he disappeared while on a visit to the consulate in Istanbul for paperwork to marry his Turkish fiancée.

He also criticized his government's diplomatic break with Qatar and war in Yemen as well as Riyadh's policy toward its archenemy, Iran, whose influence has grown in Yemen and Syria. "If media reports prove correct, we will treat the incident seriously - friendships depend on shared values", he wrote.

On Wednesday, the Post published a column by Cengiz, who said her fiance first visited the consulate on September 28 "despite being somewhat concerned that he could be in danger". Such a search would be an extraordinary development, as embassies and consulates under the Vienna Convention are technically foreign soil and must be protected by host nations.

He said the consulate was equipped with cameras but they did not record footage, so no images could be retrieved of Khashoggi entering or leaving the consulate, which is ringed by police barriers and has high security fences topped with barbed wire.

Lynn Maalouf, Middle East Research Director for Amnesty International, said if the reports of Khashoggi's death are true, this "would be taking yet to another level the continuing crackdown on any form of dissent that's been going on in Saudi Arabia over the past year".

Human Rights Watch says if Saudi Arabia has detained Khashoggi without acknowledging it, his detention constitutes an enforced disappearance. The search proved fruitless and the plane took off again afterwards, it said.

Turkey's official Anadolu News Agency said Saturday that the Istanbul public prosecutor's office began a probe into Khashoggi's disappearance Tuesday, immediately after he went missing.

As Khashoggi wrote in his first column in the Post: "That is how breathtakingly fast you can fall out of favour with Saudi Arabia".

The OHCHR comments were also echoed by Senior UN rights experts, Bernard Duhaime, Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression, David Kaye, and the UN Special Rapporteur on summary executions, Agnes Callamard. Saudi officials have called the allegation "baseless".

"This case sends a shockwave among Saudi Arabian human rights defenders and dissidents everywhere, eroding any notion of seeking safe haven overseas".

Khashoggi was once a Saudi newspaper editor and is a familiar face on political talk shows on Arab satellite television networks.

The GOP leader visited Saudi Arabia at the start of the year.

Khashoggi then served as media adviser to Al-Faisal, the former spy chief, who was at the time the ambassador to the United States.

Turkey said Tuesday it will search the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul as part of an investigation into the disappearance of a missing Saudi contributor to The Washington Post, a week after he vanished during a visit there.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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