WaPo reacts to Saudi journalist murder claim as 'monstrous and unfathomable'

Hannah Rogers
October 8, 2018

A tweet over human rights by Canada's foreign affairs department in August sparked a diplomatic feud between Canada and Saudi Arabia.

An official at the Consulate General of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul dismissed on Sunday the report by Reuters which quoted Turkish officials as saying that Saudi citizen Jamal Khashoggi was killed in the consulate in Istanbul. According to a US official briefed by Turkish counterparts, Khashoggi's body was likely dismembered, removed in boxes and flown out of the country.

The U.S. -educated Khashoggi was no stranger to controversy.

The prince took to his Twitter to express his concern about the disappearance of the Washington Post opinion writer.

"Turkey and Saudi Arabia differ on a host of issues, whether it's Iran, Qatar, the Muslim Brotherhood".

He added that he was hopeful for a positive outcome.

"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", the official told AFP on Saturday.

The source also said the investigation found that the assassins may have entered the country hidden among a group of 15 Saudis, including officials, who touched down in Istanbul aboard two flights on Tuesday.

At least one American lawmaker, Democrat Senator Chris Murphy, said on Twitter, "If this is true - that the Saudis lured a United States resident into their consulate and murdered him - it should represent a fundamental break in our relationship with Saudi Arabia".

Turkey's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is expected to make a statement on the case later today.

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Yasin Aktay, an official in Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) who was close to the journalist, said Khashoggi had made an appointment in advance with the consulate and called to check the documents were ready. "There is a security investigation on the issue; there is an intelligence investigation on the issue". He traveled extensively in the Middle East, covering Algeria's 1990s war against Islamic militants, and the Islamists rise in Sudan.

Prince Mohammed - commonly known as MBS - was also the subject of criticism in November 2017 when he was accused of placing Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri under house arrest in Riyadh. "But all I see now is the recent wave of arrests". Analysts argue it's part of MBS's need to further consolidate power.

Khashoggi had asked for a document needed to remarry in Turkey, Tamimi said, and the consular staff "were surprised and said, yes, we will do it for you, but there is no time, and they agreed he will come back on Tuesday".

Trump is not bothered by monarchical excesses in Riyadh.

On Friday, bin Salman confirmed to the press that Khashoggi's visit was indeed a quick in and out, saying his understanding was that the journalist left the consulate within an hour of first entering.

The 33-year-old crown prince, who was named heir to the throne in June 2017, has garnered worldwide attention with his rapid rise to power as well as social and economic reforms.

"The Saudi authorities must immediately give a full and credible accounting of what happened to Khashoggi inside its diplomatic mission", the CPJ said in a statement.

That seems to be the goal of MBS and his father, King Salman.

In 2010, Saudi billionaire Alwaleed bin Talal tapped him to lead his new TV station, touted as a rival to Qatari-funded Al-Jazeera, a staunch critic of the kingdom.

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