Saturday, 17 November, 2018

On the curious case of Khashoggi's disappearance

Saudi consulate in Istanbul Turkey The Saudi consulate said Khashoggi left after completing paperwork
Ray Hunter | 12 October, 2018, 00:50

The Saudi consulate in Istanbul issued a statement Sunday, saying reports that Kashoggi was murdered inside the building were "baseless allegations".

Jamal Khashoggi, a former Saudi royal insider who became a journalist critical of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's authority, ventured to the Saudi consulate general located in Istanbul just over a week ago seeking paperwork that would allow him to marry his Turkish wife, and he hasn't been seen since.

The Washington Post, citing U.S. intelligence intercepts, reported that Saudi Arabia's crown prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered an operation to trap Khashoggi.

Turkish officials later announced that they believed Khashoggi was murdered inside of the consulate and that his body was transported out of the building.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., a longtime critic of the Saudi government, has said he'll try to force a vote in the Senate blocking USA arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Sen. There were no details about when the search would take place.

FILE - Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi speaks at an event hosted by Middle East Monitor in London, Sept. 29, 2018.

"Forced disappearances are cases against human rights and we are here to condemn this crime committed against a journalist", Yurtsever said.

He visited the consulate in Istanbul on October 2 to obtain documentation to finalize his divorce; his Turkish fiancée waited for him outside the building, and reported him missing after he didn't return.

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Erdogan added in a news conference in Hungary, the country he is visiting, on Monday: "I have given my orders to the intelligence services, the Ministry of Justice, the prosecution and the police to take the necessary measures and gather information about Jamal Khashoggi and then reveal them".

Trump again expressed concern about Khashoggi's situation.

"We call for cooperation between Turkey and Saudi Arabia to conduct a prompt and impartial investigation into the circumstances of Mr Khashoggi's disappearance and to make the findings public", United Nations human rights spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani told a Geneva news briefing. Erdogan said, according to Hurriyet daily.

Khashoggi's disappearance is likely to further deepen divisions between Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

A long-time critic of the Saudi government, Paul said he hoped Trump would reconsider his friendly policy towards Saudi Arabia "if there's any evidence they killed this journalist".

On Thursday, President Trump told reporters that the White House is looking "very strongly" at Khashoggi's disappearance. Turkish officials have said they fear the columnist was killed there.

In March, the State Department approved a $670 million arms sale to Saudi Arabia, part of a promised $110 billion in deals touted by Trump after his first presidential trip to the Saudi capital past year.

Saudi prince Khalid bin Farhan al-Saud, who has fled to Germany after the empowerment of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, called on people to overthrow the current rulers in Riyadh after the recent murder of prominent journalist Jamal Khashoggi by the Al-e Saud.

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