Tuesday, 20 November, 2018

Saudi Arabia ‘to ADMIT missing journalist killed’ in consulate interrogation

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Khashoggi, a Saudi national and USA resident who became increasingly critical of Prince Mohammed in columns for the Washington Post, has not been seen since he walked into the kingdom's Istanbul consulate to sort out marriage paperwork on Oct 2.

But the theory was widely dismissed among Khashoggi's friends, human-rights advocates and some on Capitol Hill, who noted that Saudi officials had denied his death for two weeks - including assertions by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman last week and the king himself Monday.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is understood to be preparing a report in which it is likely to admit dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi died during an interrogation at its consulate in Istanbul, according to a media report. "It sounded to me like maybe these could have been rogue killers".

Khashoggi - a Washington Post columnist - wrote articles that portrayed a very different narrative than the one pushed by the legions of Saudi boosters in the West.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends a conference in Riyadh, on October 24, 2017.

"It has been 13 days since the event, so surely proving some of the evidence might be hard, but we believe we will obtain evidence", the Turkish official said.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Riyadh this morning and has held talks with Saudi King Salman.

Saudi Arabia has said it would retaliate against any pressure or economic sanctions "with greater action", and Arab allies rallied to support it.


Khashoggi's presence in the Washington area, his insight derived from decades of flitting in and out of the Saudi elite, and his easygoing, scholarly manner made him a go-to source for policymakers and journalists alike.

Khashoggi, 59, disappeared earlier this month after he entered the Saudi Consulate to obtain documents related to his upcoming marriage to a Turkish woman. While he was passionate about the Muslim Brotherhood in his youth and appeared to have supported Osama Bin Laden in the 1980s, he later cultivated connections to Saudi power structures as a journalist-insider and served as a key source for U.S. officials in Riyadh.

"US sanctions on Riyadh would mean Washington is stabbing itself", said the general manager of the Dubai based Al-Arabiya news channel, Turki Aldakhil.

The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter, said the kingdom is weighing whether to say that rogue operatives killed Mr Khashoggi by mistake during an interrogation.

The Saudi Arabian consulate is cordoned off by Turkish police - during the investigation over missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi - in Istanbul, Turkey, October 15, 2018.

Britain, France and Germany also released a rare joint statement saying they were treating Khashoggi's disappearance "with the utmost seriousness" and calling for a "credible investigation". Most experts say that probably won't happen. Saudi stock index was down 3 percent in early Tuesday trade before it recouped some losses for a decline of 0.5 percent by 0949 GMT.

Khashoggi, a familiar face on Arab talk shows, moved to Washington a year ago fearing retribution for his criticism of Prince Mohammed, who has cracked down on dissent with arrests.

Business barons including British billionaire Richard Branson and Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, as well as media powerhouses Bloomberg and CNN, have pulled out of the Future Investment Initiative (FII).

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