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Jamal Khashoggi disappearance: How the case has unfolded

It’s been more than two weeks since Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi writer living in the U.S., disappeared. Here’s a look back at the case, which began when the 59-year-old writer walked into the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.​

Oct. 2: Khashoggi went to the consulate in Istanbul to try to get papers required to marry his Turkish fiancée, Hatice Cengiz. She watched him enter and waited for him to emerge but the journalist hasn’t been seen since.

Oct. 4: The Saudi Arabian Consulate in Istanbul said Khashoggi had left the building and then disappeared. But reports from Turkish officials said they believed the columnist was still inside the building.

Oct. 6: Turkish officials were saying they believed the columnist, who had written critically about the Saudi royal family, had been killed in the consulate.

“We believe that the murder was premeditated and the body was subsequently moved out of the consulate,” an unnamed Turkish official told Reuters.

Watch a clip from earlier this year, when Khashoggi told The National there is “no room for critical dissent” in Saudi Arabia. 

Self-exiled Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi said earlier this year that the Saudi government has been moving toward nationalist radicalism. 1:14

Oct. 8:  Turkish authorities summoned the Saudi ambassador, saying that the Saudis needed to provide evidence that the missing man had actually left the consulate.

“If he left, you must prove this, you will prove this, even if it’s with visuals,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said during a visit to Hungary. “Those who ask Turkish authorities, ‘Where is he?’ should first be asking, ‘How did this happen?'”

Oct. 9:  A week after Khashoggi disappeared, Turkish officials announced they would search the consulate. A spokesperson for the Turkish foreign affairs department said Saudi officials had indicated they were “open to co-operation.”

Khashoggi’s  fiancée wrote an opinion piece in the Washington Post imploring the U.S. president to help and urging the Saudis to release CCTV footage from the consulate.

Oct. 10:  U.S. President Donald Trump waded more deeply into the issue, telling reporters he had spoken with the Saudis about what he called a “bad situation,” but he did not disclose details of his conversations. He also said the U.S. was working “very closely” with Turkey, “and I think we’ll get to the bottom of it.”

Trump’s remarks came as Turkish media released images of what they said was an “assassination squad” arriving in the country. 

Oct. 11: Trump appeared on Fox & Friends and said his administration was taking the case “very, very seriously.” But he also told Fox News that limiting arms sales to Saudi Arabia, a close U.S. ally with a deal to buy hundreds of billions of dollars worth of American weaponry, “would be hurting us.”

U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Oval Office in March. Their countries have strong security and economic ties. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

Oct. 12:  Prime Minister Justin Trudeau weighed in, saying the case is “of course of concern, and we join with our allies around the world in expressing serious issues with these reports.” Trudeau said that his government would respect an agreement negotiated under the previous government that allowed the sale of Canadian-made light-armoured vehicles to the Saudis.

Oct. 13 A Turkish newspaper printed an explosive claim, saying Khashoggi’s torture and killing had been recorded on his Apple Watch. The initial reports contained few details, but the paper reported that Turkish authorities had obtained the audio from the journalist’s iPhone, which he’d given to his fiancée before entering the consulate, and his iCloud account.

Oct. 14:  The Saudis caution other nations against making threats or imposing sanctions, saying if it is targeted, it will respond with greater action.”

The statement came after Trump told 60 Minutes correspondent Lesley Stahl there would be “severe” consequences if Saudi Arabia was found to be involved in the killing of the U.S.-based journalist. But the president noted that there was still not enough detail about the case. “As of this moment, they deny it and they deny it vehemently. Could it be them? Yes.”

As the rhetoric escalated, top businesses started announcing their withdrawal from the Davos in the Desert summit, a Saudi-run conference meant to promote foreign investment in the kingdom.

Oct. 15:  The planned search of the consulate went ahead. The state-run Anadolu news agency said the Turkish investigative team include a prosecutor, deputy prosecutor, anti-terror police and forensic experts. Trump, after speaking to Saudi King Salman, told reporters, “I don’t want to get into his mind, but it sounded to me like maybe these could have been rogue killers, who knows? We’ll try getting to the bottom of it very soon. His was a flat denial.”

Turkish police prepare on Oct. 15 to enter the Saudi Arabian Consulate in Istanbul amid a growing international backlash to Khashoggi’s disappearance. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Oct. 16: Two weeks after Khashoggi’s disappearance, Trump criticized the widespread outrage directed at Saudi Arabia, in an interview with The Associated Press.

“I think we have to find out what happened first,” he said. “Here we go again with, you know, you’re guilty until proven innocent. I don’t like that. We just went through that with Justice Kavanaugh and he was innocent all the way as far as I’m concerned.”

Trump also weighed in on Twitter, reiterating the Saudi denials.

Oct. 17: A Turkish team searched the home of the Saudi consul, who had left the country not long after Khashoggi’s disappearance. The search coincided with a grisly news report that contained details from a purported recording of Khashoggi’s torture and slaughter.

The Washington Post chose to release what may be Khashoggi’s final column, an opinion piece calling for more free expression in Arab states. 

Oct. 18:  There was a major shift in the U.S. president’s message. Trump told reporters it “certainly looks” as though the journalist is dead, and again threatened “very severe” consequences if the Saudis are found to have murdered him.

Watch Trump tell reporters it ‘certainly looks’ like the dissident reporter is dead.

The Saudi journalist has been missing since Oct. 2 0:58

Source : cbc

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