Jeddah: Saudi Arabia on Sunday a media report claiming that Jamal Khashoggi has been murdered by a team of killers inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul saying it is committed to the safety and wellbeing of its citizens wherever they are.
A Saudi official while dismissing the report as “baseless allegations”, expressed his doubt that they came from Turkish officials “who are informed of the investigation or are authorized to comment on the issue”.
The Saudi rebutal came after news agency Reuters quoting some unidentified Turkish officials claimed that Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who disappeared four days ago after entering Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul, was killed inside the consulate.
Khashoggi had visited the consulate to clear his papers to get married with his fiancee who waited outside when Khashoggi went in. She said she did not see Khashoggi coming out of the consulate.
"The initial assessment of the Turkish police is that Mr Khashoggi has been killed at the consulate of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul. We believe that the murder was premeditated and the body was subsequently moved out of the consulate," one of the two Turkish officials told Reuters.
The government sources had earlier said that a security delegation of Saudi investigators arrived in Istanbul on Saturday based upon a request by the Saudi government, and the acceptance of the Turkish authorities.
“Saudi Arabia’s appreciation for the brotherly Turkish government's acceptance of the request. The delegation is there to assist in the investigations regarding the disappearance of the Saudi citizen Jamal Khashoggi”, the Sauid official said.
“The Kingdom holds the safety and wellbeing of its citizens wherever they are, and that relevant authorities in the Kingdom are diligently following up on this matter to uncover the complete facts,” Saudi Press Agency quoted the unnamed official as saying.
Saudi Arabia’s consul in Istanbul opened up his mission on Saturday in an effort to show that Khashoggi, who went missing four days ago, was not on the premises and said that talk of his kidnapping was baseless.
Reuters journalists were able to tour the consulate in northern Istanbul which Khashoggi entered on Tuesday to get documents for his forthcoming marriage. His fiancee, who had waited outside, said he never came out.
“I would like to confirm that...Jamal is not at the consulate nor in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the consulate and the embassy are working to search for him,” consul-general Mohammad al-Otaibi said in an interview at the consulate.
“We are worried about this case", he added.
Jamal Khashoggi is a regular on political talk shows on Arab satellite television networks and used to advise Prince Turki al-Faisal, former Saudi intelligence chief and ambassador to the United States and Britain.
Over the past year, he has written columns for newspapers including the Washington Post criticizing Saudi policies towards Qatar and Canada, the war in Yemen and a crackdown on dissent which has seen dozens of people detained.
"I have left my home, my family and my job, and I am raising my voice," Khashoggi wrote in September 2017. "To do otherwise would betray those who languish in prison. I can speak when so many cannot."
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