Turkish media have identified more than a dozen suspects authorities believe killed a missing Saudi journalist inside Riyadh’s consulate in Istanbul a week ago.
Turkish police investigating the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi believe he was killed inside the consulate by 15 Saudis who visited Oct. 2, and left the country the same day.
Turkey’s Daily Sabah newspaper released the names of the suspects who supposedly arrived on two private jets and stayed at two hotels close to the consulate awaiting Khashoggi.
Middle East Eye reported one of the suspects was head of the forensic department in Saudi General Security.
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The Washington Post, for which Khashoggi was a contributor, published a surveillance image Tuesday showing the Saudi reporter at the consulate.
The Post said Khashoggi, who’d been living in the United States fearing arrest for criticizing Saudi leadership, entered the consulate to obtain paperwork for a wedding.
Khashoggi’s fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, said she waited for him and he never came back out on Oct. 2. Saudi Arabia officials said that he had left the building, but have not provided evidence.
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Cengiz has pleaded for President Donald Trump to help with the search for him amid fading hope that he remains alive.
Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday on conservative commentator Hugh Hewitt’s show that the United States would send FBI agents to the consulate to investigate if the Saudis requested it.
“I think the United States of America stands ready to assist in any way,” Pence said. “But as I said yesterday, the free world deserves answers. And the reports that a Saudi Arabian journalist may have been tragically murdered in Turkey should be deeply concerning to everyone who cherishes a freedom of the press and human rights across the globe.”
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The New York Times cited a Turkish official who said Khashoggi was killed and dismembered by a team of Saudi agents.
Prince Khalid bin Salman, the Saudi ambassador to Washington, denied reports that Riyadh had Khashoggi killed.
Turkish spokesman Hami Aksoy said authorities are “open to cooperation” and willing to examine the consulate grounds, though it was not clear when a search would take place.
The United Nations human rights office has called on Turkey and Saudi Arabia governments to investigate.