Last Known Image of Khashoggi After Entry Into Saudi Consulate in Istanbul

Published October 9th, 2018 - 01:43 GMT
Last known image of the Saudi journalist (Twitter)
Last known image of the Saudi journalist (Twitter)

This is the last known image of the Saudi journalist feared murdered after going missing during a visit to his country's consulate in Turkey last week.

Jamal Khashoggi, 59, entered the Saudi Arabian consulate to obtain official documents for his upcoming wedding, but 'never came back out again', and police believe was 'tortured and cut to pieces' inside the building.

Turkish authorities are now searching for a black van seen on CCTV being 'loaded with boxes', which they believe was used to transport Khashoggi's remains from the consulate.

Officials say the van was part of a convoy of six cars, some with diplomatic number plates, which left the consulate grounds two hours after Khashoggi went inside, The Guardian reports.

 

 

Saudi Arabia denies anything untoward took place inside the consulate, and claims Mr Khashoggi left through a back entrance - of which there is no evidence.

The snap from a CCTV camera filming the entrance shows Mr Khashoggi entering the building at just before 13.15pm, last Tuesday.

His fiancee Hatice Cengiz, 36, says she never saw him come back out again, despite waiting outside until after the Saudi Arabian consulate had closed for the day.

The image was obtained by the Washington Post, for whom Mr Khashoggi had been writing following his self-imposed exile to the United States.

Speaking to the The Post, Ms Cengiz says she is fearing for her own safety in the wake of his disappearance.

'I no longer feel like I am really alive. I can't sleep. I don't eat.'

She revealed she had waited for hours outside the consulate and that security staff told her 'there is no one inside' when she inquired about her partner's whereabouts.

Khashoggi, a vocal critic of Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's policies, was 'brutally tortured, murdered and cut to pieces', a police source told Middle East Eye.

'Everything was videotaped to prove the mission had been accomplished and the tape was taken out of the country,' the source said.

Police said earlier that around 15 Saudis, including officials, arrived in Istanbul on two flights on Tuesday and were at the consulate at the same time as Khashoggi.

They say the 'death squad' left the consulate in a convoy of cars - including the black van - and later flew out of Turkey back to Saudi Arabia.

'Based on their initial findings, the police believe that the journalist was killed by a team especially sent to Istanbul and who left the same day,' a government source told AFP on Saturday.

Saudi Arabia has denied the allegations as 'baseless,' but has offered no evidence to show he ever left the building.

In his newspaper columns for the Washington Post, Khashoggi has been critical of some policies of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Riyadh's intervention in the war in Yemen.

The former government adviser, whose 60th birthday approaches this week, has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States since last year to avoid possible arrest.

Writing in the Washington Post in February this year, he stated that 'writers like me, whose criticism is offered respectfully, seem to be considered more dangerous than the more strident Saudi opposition based in London'.

He also said that the campaign for the country to back the Crown Prince's 'Vision 2030'- the policies he hopes will usher in a more prosperous future - 'has sucked the oxygen from the once-limited but present public square'.

Yesterday Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan called on Riyadh to prove its claim that Mr Khashoggi left the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, while the Washington called on Saudi Arabia to support an investigation into his disappearance.

'We have to get an outcome from this investigation as soon as possible. The consulate officials cannot save themselves by simply saying 'he has left',' Erdogan told a news conference in Budapest, where he is on an official visit.

Erdogan, who said he was personally following the case, added that Turkey had no documents or evidence regarding the case.

In a statement last night, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called for a thorough and open probe by Washington's ally Saudi Arabia

State Department senior officials have spoken with Saudi Arabia through diplomatic channels about the matter, the top US diplomat added.

Pompeo's statement came after Trump earlier on Monday told reporters at the White House: 'I am concerned. I don't like hearing about it. Hopefully that will sort itself out.'

'Right now, nobody knows anything about it. There are some pretty bad stories going around. I do not like it,' he added

The issue threatens to strain the close relationship Prince Mohammed has forged with the Trump administration, which until now has been willing to turn a blind eye to alleged Saudi human rights violations in Yemen, where it leads a coalition bombing Houthi rebels that has killed thousands of civilians.

Trump has instead focused on US and Saudi shared interests in ratcheting up pressure on Iran.

But two senior senators of Trump's Republican party warned Monday that the relationship could be imperiled if the stories about Khashoggi are correct. 

 

This article has been adapted from its original source.


© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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