Post publishes possibly last image of missing Saudi reporter

Walking to his ‘death’: Last moments of missing journalist are caught on camera showing him entering Saudi consulate in Turkey before ‘he was tortured and cut into pieces’

  • Jamal Khashoggi disappeared after appointment at Saudi Arabia’s consulate
  • Turkish police believe Saudi journalist and critic Khashoggi was murdered
  • Khashoggi went to consulate to obtain documents but ‘did not come back out’
  • CCTV image shows the moment he enters the consulate in Istanbul
  • Journalist lived in self-imposed exile in the U.S. and wrote for Washington Post 

This is the last known image of the Saudi journalist feared murdered after going missing during a visit to his country’s consulate in Turkey last week.

Jamal Khashoggi, 59, entered the Saudi Arabian consulate to obtain official documents for his upcoming wedding, but ‘never came back out again’, and police believe was ‘tortured and cut to pieces’ inside the building. 

The snap from a CCTV camera filming the entrance shows Mr Khashoggi entering the building at just before 13.15pm, last Tuesday.

His fiancee Hatice Cengiz, 36, says she never saw him come back out again, despite waiting outside until after the Saudi Arabian consulate had closed for the day. 

Into thin air: This CCTV photo, obtained by the Washington Post, shows the last moment Jamal Khashoggi is seen alive, walking into the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul on Tuesday

The image was obtained by the Washington Post, for whom Mr Khashoggi had been writing following his self-imposed exile to the United States. 

Speaking to the The Post, Ms Cengiz says she is fearing for her own safety in the wake of his disappearance.

‘I no longer feel like I am really alive. I can’t sleep. I don’t eat.’

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She revealed she had waited for hours outside the consulate and that security staff told her ‘there is no one inside’ when she inquired about her partner’s whereabouts.

The Saudi consulate claims he left by a back entrance, however, there is no evidence of him exiting the building despite several public CCTV cameras covering the area.  

Riyadh fiercely denies anything untoward took place inside the consulate, instead claiming the journalist disappeared after leaving the consulate on Tuesday afternoon.

Allegations: Turkish police believe Mr Khashoggi was tortured and murdered inside the consulate building in Istanbul last week

Distraught: Hatice Cengiz, the Turkish fiancee of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, says she never saw him come back out again, despite waiting outside for several hours, until after the Saudi Arabian consulate had closed for the day

An aerial photo shows the Saudi Arabia consulate, centre, in Istanbul

Khashoggi, a vocal critic of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s policies, was ‘brutally tortured, murdered and cut to pieces’, a police source told Middle East Eye.

‘Everything was videotaped to prove the mission had been accomplished and the tape was taken out of the country,’ the source said.

Police said earlier that around 15 Saudis, including officials, arrived in Istanbul on two flights on Tuesday and were at the consulate at the same time as Khashoggi.

‘Based on their initial findings, the police believe that the journalist was killed by a team especially sent to Istanbul and who left the same day,’ a government source told AFP on Saturday.

Saudi Arabia has denied the allegations as ‘baseless,’ but has offered no evidence to show he ever left the building. 

The former government adviser, pictured outside the BBC in London, has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States since last year to avoid possible arrest.

The journalist’s Turkish fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, said he had visited the consulate to receive an official document for their marriage

Khashoggi reportedly went into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Tuesday, but never came back out again

Saudi officials gather outside the consulate in Istanbul last week, in front of the door where Mr Khashoggi entered, but never exited

In his newspaper columns for the Washington Post,  Khashoggi has been critical of some policies of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Riyadh’s intervention in the war in Yemen.

The former government adviser, whose 60th birthday approaches this week, has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States since last year to avoid possible arrest.

Writing in the Washington Post in February this year, he stated that ‘writers like me, whose criticism is offered respectfully, seem to be considered more dangerous than the more strident Saudi opposition based in London’.

He also said that the campaign for the country to back the Crown Prince’s ‘Vision 2030’- the policies he hopes will usher in a more prosperous future – ‘has sucked the oxygen from the once-limited but present public square’.

Yesterday Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan called on Riyadh to prove its claim that Mr Khashoggi left the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, while the Washington called on Saudi Arabia to support an investigation into his disappearance.

‘We have to get an outcome from this investigation as soon as possible. The consulate officials cannot save themselves by simply saying ‘he has left’,’ Erdogan told a news conference in Budapest, where he is on an official visit.

In, not out: The entrance to the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul

Members of the Turkish-Arab journalist Association hold posters with photos of missing Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi, as they hold a protest near the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul

A journalist holding a poster of missing Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi, speaks to camera near the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, Monday

Erdogan, who said he was personally following the case, added that Turkey had no documents or evidence regarding the case.

In a statement last night, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called for a thorough and open probe by Washington’s ally Saudi Arabia

State Department senior officials have spoken with Saudi Arabia through diplomatic channels about the matter, the top US diplomat added.

Pompeo’s statement came after Trump earlier on Monday told reporters at the White House: ‘I am concerned. I don’t like hearing about it. Hopefully that will sort itself out.’

‘Right now, nobody knows anything about it. There are some pretty bad stories going around. I do not like it,’ he added

The issue threatens to strain the close relationship Prince Mohammed has forged with the Trump administration, which until now has been willing to turn a blind eye to alleged Saudi human rights violations in Yemen, where it leads a coalition bombing Houthi rebels that has killed thousands of civilians.

Trump has instead focused on US and Saudi shared interests in ratcheting up pressure on Iran.

But two senior senators of Trump’s Republican party warned Monday that the relationship could be imperiled if the stories about Khashoggi are correct. 

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