Saudi probing journalist’s ‘disappearance after leaving Istanbul consulate’

Riyadh: Saudi Arabia said Thursday it was investigating the “disappearance” of Jamal Khashoggi, a journalist critical of the government in Riyadh who went missing in Istanbul.

Khashoggi, a former Saudi government advisor who went into self-imposed exile in the US last year to avoid arrest, was reported missing by his fiancee after he entered his country’s consulate in Turkey more than 24 hours ago and was not seen to emerge.

“The consulate general of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul… confirmed that it is carrying out the follow-up procedures and coordination with Turkish local authorities to uncover the circumstances of the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi after he left the consulate building,” read a statement published by Saudi Arabia’s state-run SPA news agency.

US officials on Wednesday said they were looking into his case, as a spokesman for the Turkish presidency said Khashoggi had entered the Saudi consulate but had not left.

“According to information we have, this individual who is a Saudi national is still at the Istanbul consulate of Saudi Arabia,” presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin told reporters in Ankara.

Khashoggi has not been seen since entering the Saudi consulate building on Tuesday where he was to receive an official document for his marriage.

The journalist, who writes opinion pieces for the Washington Post, has been critical of some policies of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Riyadh’s intervention in the war in Yemen.

Khashoggi’s Turkish fiancee Hatice told AFP she hadn’t “received any news from him since 1:00 pm (1000 GMT) on Tuesday” as she stood near barricades outside the Saudi consulate on Wednesday.

She said Khashoggi had left his mobile phone with her.

[source_without_link] Agence France-Presse[/source_without_link]