The disappearance of a controversial Saudi Arabian journalist now living in the United States if becoming more steeped in mystery.
The fiancee of writer Jamal Khashoggi, who has been critical of Saudi leadership, said she last saw him Tuesday when he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain paperwork for their upcoming wedding.
She said he left his phone with her, with instructions to call Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan if he did not return.
Khashoggi, a 59-year-old Saudi citizen, has not been heard from since. His friends said police officers reviewed video surveillance in the area and didn’t Khashoggi leave the embassy.
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“The information we have is that the Saudi citizen in question is still in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul,” spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said Wednesday.
The government-run Saudi Press Agency reported Thursday the consulate in Istanbul said he did leave Tuesday.
“The consulate confirmed that it is carrying out follow-up procedures and coordination with the Turkish local authorities to uncover the circumstances of the disappearance,” the SPA said.
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Khashoggi was a contributor to The Washington Post.
“The Post is extremely concerned about Jamal,” Post editor Fred Hiatt said. “We have reached out to anyone we think might be able to help locate him and assure his safety, including U.S., Turkish and Saudi officials.”
Multiple critics of the Riyadh government have been arrested under the leadership of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Khashoggi has been critical toward government arrests of activists and Saudi involvement in Yemen. Fearing he would be arrested, he has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States since last year.
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“I have left my home, my family and my job, and I am raising my voice,” he wrote in a column last year. “To do otherwise would betray those who languish in prison.”