Prominent Saudi Journalist Disappears After Entering Istanbul Consulate

3 October 2018

The Saudi journalist’s Turkish fiancée, as well as a close friend contacted by Reuters, said he has not been seen since entering the diplomatic mission on Tuesday.

Two people close to Saudi commentator Jamal Khashoggi, who left for the United States last year fearing retribution for his views, said they were concerned about his whereabouts 24 hours after he failed to emerge from a meeting at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Khashoggi’s Turkish fiancée, as well as a close friend contacted by Reuters, said he had not been seen since entering the diplomatic mission on Tuesday to secure documentation for his divorce so that he could remarry.

The fiancée, who asked not to be named, said she had waited outside the consulate from 1 p.m local time (1000 GMT) and called the police when he had not reappeared.

She was back waiting outside the consulate on Wednesday (Oct. 3).

Contacted by Reuters for comment, the consulate said it did not provide information to the media. A spokesman for Istanbul police said they do not have any information regarding the issue. The Saudi Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

The continued absence of the prominent former newspaper editor, for years a familiar face on political talk shows on Arab satellite television networks, could complicate already uneasy ties between Riyadh and Ankara.

Khashoggi is a former Saudi newspaper editor who has lived in self-exile in Washington, D.C. for more than a year after he said the authorities had instructed him to stop tweeting. As a journalist, he interviewed Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden several times in Afghanistan and Sudan, and served twice as editor of the Al Watan newspaper. He advised Prince Turki al-Faisal, former Saudi intelligence chief and ambassador to the United States and Britain, and has also been close to billionaire investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.

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Over the past year, Khashoggi has written regular columns in the Washington Post criticizing Saudi Arabia’s policies towards Qatar and Canada, the war in Yemen, and a crackdown on dissent, the media and activists which has seen dozens of activists, intellectuals and clerics detained.

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