Supporters of missing Saudi journalist rally for his ‘release’

Adjust Comment Print

Protesters hold pictures of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, on October 5, 2018.

Khashoggi, a former government adviser who went into self-imposed exile in the United States past year to avoid possible arrest, has been critical of some of the policies of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Riyadh's intervention in the war in Yemen.

The Turkish fiancée of a veteran Saudi journalist and regime critic Jamal Khashoggi spoke out on Twitter on Friday demanding information on his mysterious disappearance. Saudi Arabia's ambassador in Ankara was summoned to the Turkish Foreign Ministry for an explanation over the incident, while Saudi officials announced they were coordinating with Turkish authorities about the circumstances of his disappearance.

He went to Saudi consulate to complete some "routine paperworks" on Tuesday and has not been heard of since then, reports the Washington Post.

Turan Kişlakçı, a friend who heads the Arab Turkish Media Association, said Khashoggi received assurances from Saudi officials before his visit that he could enter safely.

A spokesman for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters on Wednesday night that authorities believed the journalist was still there. And I believe, and I'm sorry if anyone misunderstands that, but I believe President Obama, in his eight years, he worked against many of our agenda - not in Saudi Arabia, but also in the Middle East. Khashoggi, a 59-year-old veteran journalist who has lived in self-imposed exile in the US since Prince Mohammed's rise to power, disappeared October 2 while on a visit to the consulate to get paperwork done to be married to his Turkish fiancée. He gave her his mobile phones for safekeeping, something common as embassies throughout the Middle East routinely require phones to be left outside as a security precaution. What does Trump's comment reveal about Saudi Arabia's sovereignty and independence?

Trump told the rally "I love the king, King Salman". "There is no law or lawsuit against him. He is just a man whose country doesn't like his writings or his opinions".

The Post's empty column in Friday's edition bore Khashoggi's byline and the headline: "A missing voice". Turkish officials say they believe he is still inside the consultate.

The State Department said it is "closely following" the case.

Khashoggi is a longtime Saudi journalist, foreign correspondent, editor and columnist whose work has been controversial in the past in the ultraconservative Sunni kingdom.

Khashoggi had been living in self-imposed exile in the United States for more than a year, fearing his criticism of bin Salman's government would land him in prison.

He has 1.6 million followers on Twitter and has the benefit of having once had intimate access both to the ruling family and to Osama bin Laden at different times in his life. A television news channel he was in charge of was shut down after only 11 hours on air in 2015.

Human rights bodies and journalist rights action groups have raised the possibility of "forced disappearance" as the journalist remains unaccounted for.

The Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, seen on October 3, 2018.

Comments