Images surface of Saudis allegedly sent to target writer

Joann Johnston
October 10, 2018

His fiancée fears that he has been kidnapped or killed.

Local press reports suggested he was abducted and taken to Saudi Arabia, though this has never been confirmed.

A source told the Post that prior to Khashoggi going missing, US intelligence intercepted Saudi officials' communications, which revealed a plan to capture Khashoggi and get him to Saudi Arabia.

Mr Khashoggi is a prominent journalist who has covered major stories, including the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the rise of Osama Bin Laden, for various Saudi news organisations.

He went into self-imposed exile in the U.S. previous year, and has written a monthly column in the Washington Post in which he has criticised the policies of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Turkey's foreign minister said authorities would search the consulate in Istanbul as part of its investigation into Khashoggi's disappearance, saying Saudi officials were "open to cooperation", although it's unclear when the event would take place. The footage shows Khashoggi entering the consulate on October 2.

He reportedly told friends that he had been treated "very warmly" on his first visit and reassured them that he would not face any problems.

On Wednesday, the Post published a column by Khashoggi's fiancée, Hatice Cengiz. Khashoggi had left his phones with her before entering and told her to wait outside and alert the authorities if he did not return.

The official also said the journalist may have been killed on the orders of the highest levels of the Saudi royal court.

The allegation that Khashoggi was killed in the consulate has been rejected by Saudi Arabia, which claims the dissident journalist left the premises alive.

The UN rights office spokeswoman, Ravina Shamdasani, on Tuesday echoed calls for "a prompt, impartial and independent investigation of the circumstances of Mr Khashoggi's disappearance and to keep the findings public" in comments to journalists in Geneva.

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Khashoggi, who lived in self-imposed exile in the United States, vanished on October 2 after entering Riyadh's consulate in Istanbul to obtain official documents ahead of his marriage to his Turkish fiancee.

According to the images, a vehicle that went inside the consulate then went to the consul-general's residence nearby after 1200 GMT, two hours after Khashoggi had entered the mission.

At 1:14 p.m., Khashoggi is seen walking into the consulate, wearing a dark blazer and light pants.

One of the men identified by name and photo in the Sabah report is a Saudi forensic expert, according to Saudi media reports, and is on the board of the Saudi Society of Forensic Medicine.

Anonymous Turkish sources say the 15 men flew into Istanbul of two private Gulfstream IV jets with tail numbers HZ-SK1 and HZ-SK2.

Turkish police were looking into two private aircraft that landed at Istanbul's Ataturk airport on October 2 at different times carrying the individuals of interest in the case.

"Violence against journalists is going up and is a grave threat to freedom of expression", he said.

Saudi Arabia remained silent as the images, though not offering definitive proof about Khashoggi's fate, played across television networks in Turkey and around the world.

Politicians in the US, Riyadh's main ally, have warned that any harm done to the Washington Post contributor will jeopardise America's relations with the world's largest oil exporter.

"The issue is that there is a Saudi citizen who has gone missing", he said.

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