Trump threat­ens Saudis with ‘pun­ish­ment’ over miss­ing journalist

Iran Daily - - Front Page -

US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump threat­ened Saudi Ara­bia on Satur­day with “se­vere pun­ish­ment” if a journalist was killed in­side its Is­tan­bul con­sulate.

With the mys­tery over Ja­mal Khashoggi un­re­solved 11 days af­ter he walked into the con­sulate and failed to reap­pear, a pro-govern­ment Turk­ish daily said the Saudi na­tional had recorded his own in­ter­ro­ga­tion in­side the mis­sion on an Ap­ple Watch, AFP wrote.

Turk­ish of­fi­cials have said they be­lieve Khashoggi was killed in­side the con­sulate and lurid claims have been leaked to me­dia that he was tor­tured and even dis­mem­bered.

Saudi in­sists Khashoggi, a Wash­ing­ton Post con­trib­u­tor whose writ­ings have been crit­i­cal of pow­er­ful Crown Prince Mo­hammed bin Sal­man, left the build­ing safely but has yet to of­fer visual ev­i­dence of this.

The out­cry sur­round­ing his dis­ap­pear­ance threat­ens to not just harm brit­tle Turkey-saudi re­la­tions but also alarm the king­dom’s sup­port­ers in the West.

“We’re go­ing to get to the bot­tom of it and there will be se­vere pun­ish­ment,” Trump told CBS.

“They (Saudi) deny it and they deny it ve­he­mently. Could it be them? Yes,” Trump said in the in­ter­view.

But he again voiced his re­luc­tance to limit US arms sales to the king­dom, which an­a­lysts see as one of Wash­ing­ton’s key po­ten­tial levers.

The Saudi del­e­ga­tion was in Turkey and due to have talks this week­end in Ankara and take part in a work­ing group on the dis­ap­pear­ance, of­fi­cial Turk­ish me­dia said. The NTV chan­nel said the 11 per­son del­e­ga­tion had on Fri­day in­spected the con­sulate in Is­tan­bul.

Saudi In­te­rior Min­is­ter Prince Ab­del Aziz bin Saud bin Nayef slammed claims that the king­dom or­dered Khashoggi to be killed in­side the con­sulate.

The spokesman of Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan’s rul­ing party, Omer Ce­lik, ac­knowl­edged Satur­day that there were “ex­tremely sen­sa­tional claims” about Khashoggi’s fate in the me­dia and said there would be “se­vere con­se­quences” for any­one found re­spon­si­ble if they were true.

The lat­est claims re­ported by the pro-govern­ment Sabah daily said that Khashoggi had been wear­ing an Ap­ple Watch when he en­tered the con­sulate which was synced with an iphone left out­side with his fi­ancée Hat­ice Cen­giz.

It said that the watch had recorded what hap­pened in­side the con­sulate and this was up­loaded to his cloud, although Saudis sought to par­tially delete it.

“The mo­ments of Khashoggi’s ques­tion­ing, tor­ture and killing were recorded on the Ap­ple watch,” said Sabah.

Mean­while Prince Mo­hammed’s big Oc­to­ber con­fer­ence – the Fu­ture In­vest­ment Ini­tia­tive dubbed by me­dia as the “Davos in the Desert” af­ter the an­nual con­fer­ence in the Swiss re­sort – has suf­fered a litany of can­cel­la­tions over the con­tro­versy.

Key busi­ness fig­ures like the chief ex­ec­u­tive of ride hail­ing app Uber – into which the Saudi’s own in­vest­ment fund in­jected money – are no longer show­ing up while me­dia groups like the New York Times, Fi­nan­cial Times and Bloomberg have pulled their spon­sor­ship.

Bri­tish me­dia said UK of­fi­cials have be­gun draw­ing up a list of Saudi se­cu­rity and govern­ment of­fi­cials who could po­ten­tially come un­der sanc­tions pend­ing the out­come of in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the dis­ap­pear­ance of Khashoggi.


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