Saturday, 20 October, 2018


Images surface of Saudis allegedly sent to target writer

Opinion       Saudi Arabia’s ‘Vision 2030’ may not see very far unless it deals with journalist’s disappearance
       
       	        Bobby Ghosh         10 October Opinion Saudi Arabia’s ‘Vision 2030’ may not see very far unless it deals with journalist’s disappearance Bobby Ghosh 10 October
Hannah Rogers | 10 October, 2018, 17:23

Surveillance footage aired by Turkish media on Wednesday purports to show a team of Saudis arriving in Istanbul the day Jamal Khashoggi went missing, a black van leaving the Saudi Consulate after he entered, and the team checking out and departing the country later that night.

A Turkish security source had previously told Reuters that a group of 15 Saudi nationals, including some officials, arrived in Istanbul and entered the consulate on October 2, the same day Khashoggi was there, and later left the country.

The Sabah newspaper published images of the men apparently taken at passport control.

The footage was compiled and edited by Turkish authorities piecing together a timeline of the events of October 2, the last day Khashoggi was seen, as he stepped into city's Saudi consulate to finalize papers for his wedding, according to a person close to the investigation who provided it.

Saudi officials have dismissed the accusations as "baseless" and claim Khashoggi left the consulate by another exit, but did not provide proof.

The individuals checked in to two hotels close to the consulate, the daily said. The footage shows Khashoggi entering the consulate on October 2.

"The traditionally opaque methods used by Saudi Arabia to silence critical journalists constitute grounds for fearing the worst in the case of Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance", said Sophie Anmuth, the head of RSF's Middle East desk.

Turkish officials fear the team killed Khashoggi, who has been critical of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in his writing.

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

A squad of 15 Saudi Arabian men reportedly flew to Turkey just in time for Khashoggi's visit to the consulate for paperwork to marry his Turkish fiancée.

Khashoggi's fiancée, who he was set to marry last Wednesday, issued a public plea to President Donald Trump, who is friendly with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, asking him to investigate the disappearance. Sabah on Wednesday revealed the identities of what it called a "mysterious" 15-member "assassination squad" who were allegedly involved in Saudi writer and government critic Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance.

Trump on Monday expressed concern about Khashoggi's case and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called for a thorough investigation.

Saudi Arabia denied the reports that they sent a team of their agents to Turkey, saying they only sent a team on Saturday whose aim was to find the missing journalist.

Saudi authorities have so far not commented on the 15 nationals reported to have come to Turkey.

The Washington Post also reports that prior to Mr Khashoggi's visit, United States intelligence had intercepted communications of Saudi officials discussing a plot to capture him.

Trump, who took his first overseas trip as US President to the kingdom and whose son-in-law Jared Kushner has close ties to Prince Mohammed, said Tuesday he had not yet talked to the Saudis about Khashoggi, "but I will be at some point", without elaborating.

On Tuesday, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hami Aksoy, said the Saudis would allow Turkish police to search the consulate building, a week after Khashoggi disappeared.

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