Jamal Khashoggi: What We Know So Far About The Case Of Missing Saudi Journalist

Isabel Togoh

It’s been two weeks since Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi vanished  under mysterious circumstances.

On Tuesday, Turkish officials reportedly told the Associated Press that police found evidence that Khassogi had been killed inside the Saudi Consulate, which he was last seen entering.

As more information continues to emerge about the case, here is what we know so far.

Who is Jamal Khashoggi?

The prominent journalist of 30 years is also an author and a former editor-in-chief of Al-Arab news channel.

Khashoggi was once close to the Saudi royal family.

He also appeared as a political commentator on a number of Saudi and Arab TV channels.

He had a stint in London between 1987 and 1990, where he reported for Saudi-owned newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat.

The outspoken journalist called for freedom of speech in Saudi Arabia, a move which put him in danger, and he moved to Washington DC in June 2017 after being “ordered to shut up”.

That September he wrote in the Washington Post that Saudi Arabia had become “unbearable” in its repression.

As opinion editor of the Washington Post, he likened Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Russian president Vladimir Putin.

What are the events surrounding his disappearance?

Khashoggi was last seen on October 2 entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain documents to prove he was divorced to his ex wife.

His fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, waited outside and reported him missing after he did not emerge after 3:30pm, when the consulate closed for business.

The Saudi government claim Khashoggi left through a back entrance.

There is no evidence that he left the building.

What happened to him, and is he still alive?

The Turkish government have alleged that Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate, ordered by high level Saudi leadership, with an official telling Reuters they believe the murder was premeditated.

On Tuesday, Turkish president Reccep Tayyip Erdogan dropped a bombshell, announcing that some materials in the consulate had been freshly painted over.

A search of the consulate took place on Monday and the results of the investigation will be revealed this week. The home of the Saudi Arabian consul will also be searched.

On Monday, Turkish police told Al Jazeera they had an 11-minute audio recording indicating Khashoggi was killed in the consulate.

“Hopeful” Erdogan said on Sunday that authorities were looking into CCTV footage in a probe.

Saudi Arabia has denied killing him.

Has the UK spoken out?

In a limited capacity.

The UK has a close trading relationship with Saudi Arabia and coordinates with the country in intelligence affairs and oil trade.

Since the start of the Yemen war, Britain has licensed at least $4.7 billion of arms to Saudi Arabia, which is leading a coalition fight against Houthi rebels in the region.

In a statement, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said he would “treat the incident seriously” and stressed friendships that “depend on shared values” between the UK and Saudi Arabia.

A joint statement between Britain, France and Germany called for a “credible investigation”, with Hunt adding that if Saudi Arabia was behind the disappearance, Britain would “have to think about the appropriate way to react in that situation”.

What has been the international reaction?

Mixed. On Tuesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo flew to Riyadh and thanked King Salman for his “commitment to supporting a thorough, transparent, and timely investigation” into Khashoggi’s disappearance, a spokeswoman said.

It follows suggestions by US President Donald Trump that “rogue killers” may have been responsible for Khashoggi’s alleged murder.

After a phonecall with King Salman on Monday, Trump said: “The king firmly denied any knowledge of it”.

Michelle Bachelet, the UN Human Rights chief, urged Saudi Arabia and Turkey to reveal everything they know about the journalist’s disappearance.

She called for Riyadh to waive immunity on its diplomatic premises and officials.

“Under international law, both a forced disappearance and an extra-judicial killing are very serious crimes, and immunity should not be used to impede investigations into what happened and who is responsible,” she said.

Ahead of a business summit in Saudi Arabia on October 23, a number of high profile banking and business leaders have pulled out, including the chief executives of HSBC, Credit Suisse and Standard Chartered.

Google also pulled out this week.

The disappearance has hit the Saudi economy with the stock market falling 7% on Sunday.