Dissident Saudi Journalist Allegedly Murdered in Istanbul’s Saudi Consulate
Jamal Khashoggi, a journalist and critic of Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, has been missing since October 2.
Khashoggi was last seen entering the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul the afternoon of October 2. CCTV footage from the consulate’s entrance shows Khashoggi entering the building. There is no footage indicating that he ever exited.
Turkish police claim that a 15-person death squad that arrived in Istanbul the day Khashoggi entered the consulate murdered the journalist inside the building.
Saudi Arabia denies Turkey’s claim as a baseless allegation and added that Turkish officials should investigate the consulate.
In response, Turkey requested permission to do so. On October 9, Saudi Arabia granted Turkey permission to investigate the consulate.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stated that Saudi Arabia is responsible for proving that the missing writer is alive and that he left the consulate the day he entered it.
On October 10, Turkish state-run broadcaster TRT and other Turkish news channels played footage from surveillance cameras located in Istanbul’s airport and near the Saudi consulate. The footage shows 15 men, identified as Saudi citizens, landing at Istanbul’s international airport at dawn the day Khashoggi disappeared.
The footage also shows Khashoggi entering the consulate, walking past a black Mercedes van with diplomatic plates parked adjacent to the entrance. An hour and 54 minutes later, according to the time stamp, a black Mercedes van drove about 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) to the consul’s home, where it was parked in a garage. The 15 men who landed at the airport at dawn were allegedly in the black Mercedes and are supposedly part of a death squad hired to murder Khashoggi.
It is also speculated that Khashoggi may have been taken back to Saudi Arabia against his will. Saudi officials deny knowledge of Khashoggi’s whereabouts.
Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in order to obtain proof of his divorce from his former wife so that he could remarry.
Khashoggi’s fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, alerted Turkish authorities of Khashoggi’s disappearance on the evening of October 2 after he hadn’t returned from his visit to the consulate.
Jamal Khashoggi is known for founding the progressive Al-Watan newspaper in Saudi Arabia. He has also previously served as an advisor to several senior Saudi government officials.
Khashoggi went into self-exile and began residing in the United States in September 2017 after the Saudi regime arrested some of his friends, banned his column from the state newspaper Al-Hayat and issued threats against him.
During his exile, Khashoggi wrote a column for the Washington Post and appeared on Arab and Western talk shows. He is among Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman’s fiercest critics.