Published: Sun, October 07, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Activists rally for release of Saudi writer missing at consulate

Activists rally for release of Saudi writer missing at consulate

The Post's empty column in the Friday edition bore Khashoggi's byline and the headline: "A missing voice".

As crude oil prices reach a four-year high, Trump repeatedly has demanded OPEC and Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter, push prices down. "To do otherwise would betray those who languish in prison".

Istanbul, Oct 6 A Saudi columnist remained missing as supporters rallied outside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul calling for his "release" despite Riyadh's denials that he was being held there.

Press freedom groups such as Reporters Without Borders and the Committee to Protect Journalists have expressed concern for the safety of the Saudi journalist.

Saudi and Turkish officials have made conflicting statements on the whereabouts of Khashoggi, who has been living in self-imposed exile in the United States since he fled the kingdom in September 2017.

"Khashoggi's words should appear in the space above, but he has not been heard from since he entered a Saudi consulate in Istanbul for a routine consular matter on Tuesday afternoon". Turkish authorities believe he remains inside the consulate, while Saudi officials say he left the compound. As per the rules in some embassies and consulates, he was also required to surrender his mobile phone.

The Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, seen on October 3, 2018. (Photo by AFP) "What we want is Jamal Khashoggi's release".

He said Khashoggi had left the building not long after he entered. "And the Turkish government must assume its role and deal with the case of Jamal Khashoggi because Turkish sovereignty has been violated", she said.

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Saudi Arabia has denied it has arrested Khashoggi and said the journalist "exited shortly" after requesting paperwork related to his marital status. He is an outspoken critic of Saudi Arabia who has dared to defy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, widely believed to the kingdom's de facto ruler.

Khashoggi's disappearance has drawn attention to Mohammed's aggressive pursuit of his critics and threatened to deepen a rift between Saudi Arabia and Turkey, regional powers that have competed for influence in the Middle East.

The head of the Turk-Arab Media Association, of which Khashoggi is a member, told the Times that Turkish security officers at the consulate checked surveillance camera footage and did not see the journalist walk out.

Khashoggi was last seen entering the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul to obtain documents for his upcoming wedding, his fiancée told the Post. "We don't have information to the contrary", Ibrahim Kalin said.

"They have not said much", a USA official said Friday, referring to the Saudi government.

The Saudi envoy was called in on Wednesday, they said, to clarify the whereabouts of Khashoggi, a critic of Riyadh's foreign policy and its crackdown on dissent who left Saudi Arabia a year ago saying he feared retribution for his views.

On Wednesday, Khashoggi's editor at the Post, Karen Attiah, wrote that he was motivated by a "keen desire to demystify Saudi Arabia for a global audience".

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