Wednesday, 18 September, 2019

Turkish investigators search Saudi consulate overnight in Khashoggi case

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Patty Aguilar | 18 October, 2018, 19:04

Turkish investigators again searched the Saudi consulate in Istanbul overnight as part of a probe into Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance, as US President Donald Trump said he did not want to abandon his Saudi ally over the missing journalist.

Last night, Turkish authorities spent nine hours searching the Saudi consul's residence while other crime scene teams searched the Saudi consulate.

The paper claimed the device captured incriminating conversations between Saudi officials as they brutalised their victim and that Mr Khashoggi can be heard screaming as his fingers are hacked off before he was "injected with an unknown drug".

A man who previously traveled with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's entourage to the United States entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul just before writer Jamal Khashoggi vanished there, according to images published Thursday by a pro-government Turkish newspaper.

Late Tuesday evening, citing an anonymous Turkish officials, several news outlets reported that Khashoggi was brutally murdered and his remains were dismembered.

Karen Attiah, global opinions editor for The Washington Post, wrote that Khashoggi's translator sent the article a day after the journalist disappeared while visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

"Arab governments have been given free rein to continue silencing the media at an increasing rate", Khashoggi wrote.

"I just spoke with the king of Saudi Arabia, who denies any knowledge of what took place. It's the biggest order in the history of our country from an outside military, and I said we are going to turn that down?" he added.

The timing of the transfer, first reported by The New York Times, raised questions about a potential payoff as Riyadh seeks to manage the blowback over allegations that Saudi agents were responsible for Khashoggi's disappearance.

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Khashoggi called for the creation of an "independent worldwide forum" to allow ordinary people in the Arab world to address "the structural problems" their societies face.

Trump initially promised "severe punishment" for Saudi Arabia if the United States determined that Saudi agents killed Khashoggi.

Khashoggi, a Saudi citizen who fled for the US amid the rise of the crown prince, praised Tunisia as the only "free" nation in the Arab world and Jordan, Morocco and Kuwait as "partly free".

Riyadh insists that he left the consulate safely.

One of the suspects identified by Turkey is a close associate of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Institute director Professor Noel Woodford told the ABC he did not meet the Saudi surgeon during his Australian placement but understood he voiced a particular interest in the field of mass disaster victim identification.

"We always expected the contribution to be finalized in the fall time frame", Brett McGurk, the State Department's envoy to the anti-Islamic State coalition, said in a statement. "We'll find out, we'll get down to the bottom of it", Trump said of the Saudi investigation.

Global leaders and business executives are severing or rethinking ties to the Saudi government after Khashoggi's high-profile disappearance.

Earlier this week, former foreign secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind called for Britain to impose sanctions against Saudi Arabia following the disappearance of a Saudi journalist.

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