A Turkish official has claimed that missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was cut up into pieces after he died two weeks ago at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
The Washington Post columnist, who was critical of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was reportedly killed while visiting the Gulf kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul.
Saudi Arabia are reportedly preparing to acknowledge that Mr Khashoggi was in fact killed at the consulate, while Donald Trump said the Saudi Crown Prince denies knowledge of what happened.
US media reports suggested that the kingdom may acknowledge the writer was killed at the consulate, possibly as part of a botched interrogation.
Riyadh is a key ally for the West and US President Donald Trump has said it is being treated as ‘guilty until proven innocent’.
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There has been growing condemnation from the West over Mr Khashoggi’s reported killing.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and his G7 counterparts have said they are ‘very troubled’ by his disappearance and insist those responsible must be held to account.
In the statement, the G7 foreign ministers said: ‘We, the G7 foreign ministers, of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and the High Representative of the European Union, affirm our commitment to defending freedom of expression and protection of a free press.
‘We remain very troubled by the disappearance of prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Those bearing responsibility for his disappearance must be held to account.
‘We encourage Turkish-Saudi collaboration and look forward to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia conducting a thorough, credible, transparent, and prompt investigation, as announced.’
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has also called for an immediate suspension of arms trade with Saudi Arabia following Mr Khashoggi’s disappearance.
He said that there needs to be an international investigation into the events in Turkey, describing them as an ‘abominable tragedy’.
Details of an alleged audio recording of the killing have been set out in a Turkish newspaper, Yeni Safak, with strong ties to the Turkish government.
It said Saudi Consul General Mohammed al-Otaibi was heard telling the alleged torturers to ‘do this outside; you’re going to get me in trouble’.
US secretary of state Mike Pompeo has arrived in Turkey after meeting King Salman and his son, the 33-year-old Crown Prince in Saudi Arabia.
Following the meeting, Mr Pompeo told reporter: ‘They made a commitment to hold anyone connected to any wrongdoing that may be found accountable for that, whether they are a senior officer or official.’
However, no major decision is made outside of the ultra-conservative kingdom’s ruling Al Saud family.
Turkish officials have said police searching the Saudi consulate have found evidence that Mr Khashoggi was killed there.
President Trump has suggested that ‘rogue killers’ could have been involved in the case but such a move without sanction from the Saudi regime is believed to be highly unlikely by many.
Mr Khashoggi was living in self-imposed exile in the US and writing opinion pieces for the Washington Post before he vanished.
He visited the consulate on October 2 to obtain a document confirming he had divorced his ex-wife, in order to allow him to remarry.
Saudi officials have previously described Turkish allegations that a team of 15 Saudi agents killed Mr Khashoggi as ‘baseless’.
UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet has said the ‘inviolability or immunity’ of people or premises granted under the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations “should be waived immediately’.
That convention covers diplomatic immunity, as well as the idea that embassies and consulates sit on foreign soil in their host countries.
She said: ‘Given there seems to be clear evidence that Mr Khashoggi entered the consulate and has never been seen since, the onus is on the Saudi authorities to reveal what happened to him.’
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told journalists on Tuesday that police sought traces of ‘toxic’ materials and suggested parts of the consulate had been recently painted.