Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi went into his country’s consulate in Istanbul to get the paperwork that he needed to marry his Turkish fiancée, Hatice Cengiz. He hasn’t been seen since.
The mystery of the disappearance of the Washington Post columnist has sparked international controversy, with pressure mounting on Saudi Arabia to explain what happened to him and where he is. The kingdom has vehemently denied any involvement and says he left the consulate that afternoon.
Now, according to CNN and the Washington Post, Turkish authorities say they have audio and video evidence that prove Khashoggi was assaulted and killed inside the consulate. “You can hear his voice and the voices of men speaking Arabic,” a source told the Post. “You can hear how he was interrogated, tortured and then murdered.” Turkish authorities have not released the footage, perhaps fearing it may reveal how the Turks spy on foreign entities in their country.
Khashoggi was born into a powerful Saudi family, with close ties to the royal family—his grandfather was the personal physician to King Abdulaziz Al Saud, founder of the kingdom Saudi Arabia. In recent years, however, he has been an outspoken critic of the regime and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Documents show that Mohammed, known as MBS, ordered an operation to lure Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia and detain him. Yesterday (Oct. 11), Donald Trump weighed in: ”We don’t like it. I don’t like it. No good.”
The international business and diplomatic world have made their discomfort clear: journalists, investors, and some CEOs have pulled out of a three-day financial conference in Riyadh dubbed “Davos in the Desert.” British tycoon Richard Branson also announced that he had pulled back from two tourism projects in the country and has suspended discussions about a $1-billion Saudi investment in Virgin’s space companies.
The case has also highlighted the absence of US ambassadors in more than 50 countries around the world, including Turkey and Saudi Arabia, to handle a crisis of this sort. The Turkish investigation continues.