Published: Wed, October 10, 2018
Arts&Culture | By Matthew Castillo

Khashoggi case should not be politicized, says United Nations expert

Khashoggi case should not be politicized, says United Nations expert

Turkish media close to the president published images on Wednesday of what it described as a 15-member "assassination squad" allegedly sent to target Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and of a black van later traveling from the Saudi consulate, where he went missing, to the consul's home.

Saudi authorities have said the journalist left the building after his visit and rejected Turkish police suggestions he might have been killed there.

The report by the Sabah newspaper, which is close to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, published images of the men apparently taken at passport control.

The footage aired Wednesday begins by showing the 3:28 a.m. arrival on October 2 of one of two private Gulfstream jets that Turkish media say were carrying the 15 Saudis, who allegedly flew into and out of Istanbul on the day Khashoggi went missing.

Jamal Khashoggi, a well-known journalist and critic of the Saudi government, walked into the country's consulate in Istanbul last week to obtain some documents and has not been seen since.

Saudi officials have dismissed the accusations as "baseless" and claim Khashoggi left the consulate by another exit, but did not provide proof.

Officials also say they had become aware that Khashoggi may have been kidnapped before the second plane had departed, and monitored seven Saudis in a waiting room as they checked their luggage for a second time. The footage shows Khashoggi entering the consulate on October 2. The video also shows alleged Saudi planes and agents, whom Turkish officials want to investigate in relation to the dissident journalist's disappearance. According to the New York Times, officials in Istanbul believe he was killed on orders from the royal court of Saudi Arabia.

At 5:32 p.m., cameras show Khashoggi's fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, outside the police barricades of the consulate, speaking into her cellphone.

Khashoggi had written a series of columns for the Washington Post that were critical of Saudi Arabia's assertive Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has led a widely publicised drive to reform the Sunni monarchy but has also presided over the arrests of activists and businessmen.

One of the vans is reported to have taken some of the men from the consulate to the nearby residence of the Saudi consul about two hours after Mr Khashoggi's arrival.

Anonymous Turkish sources say the 15 men flew into Istanbul of two private Gulfstream IV jets with tail numbers HZ-SK1 and HZ-SK2.

Turkey's Hurriyet newspaper and other media alleged Wednesday that the Saudi Consulate's 28 local staff were given leave on October 2 on grounds that a "diplomats' meeting" would be held there on that day.

Before Khashoggi disappeared, USA intelligence intercepted communications of Saudi officials discussing a plan to grab him, the Washington Post reported.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said on Wednesday the United States is ready to help in any way in the investigation of the disappearance of prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The country's foreign ministry has said it is "open to co-operation" and a search of the building can go ahead as part of the investigation.

He is also a former editor of the Saudi newspaper al-Watan and had worked with Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a grandson of the first Saudi king who was detained previous year as part of what the authorities said was an anti-corruption campaign.

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