The Week (US) - - News 9 -

Saudi jour­nal­ist mur­dered? A team of Saudi Ara­bian hit­men as­sas­si­nated a Saudi dis­si­dent jour­nal­ist in­side the king­dom’s Is­tan­bul con­sulate, Turk­ish of­fi­cials said this week. Ja­mal Khashoggi, a well­con­nected jour­nal­ist with close ties to many Saudi princes, had fled to the U.S. last year to es­cape a sweep­ing crack­down on dis­sent af­ter Mo­hammed bin Sal­man, 33, was named crown prince. In ex­ile, Khashoggi wrote op-eds crit­i­cal of the crown prince for many pub­li­ca­tions, in­clud­ing The Washington Post. Last week, he went to the Is­tan­bul con­sulate to col­lect doc­u­ments for his up­com­ing mar­riage to a Turk­ish woman. Turk­ish of­fi­cials said 15 Saudi agents, in­clud­ing an au­topsy ex­pert bear­ing a bone saw, ar­rived in Is­tan­bul the same day, and some lay in wait at the con­sulate. The of­fi­cials be­lieve Khashoggi was killed, dis­mem­bered, and re­moved from the build­ing within two hours of his ar­rival. The Saudi agents left the coun­try soon af­ter.

U.S. in­tel­li­gence knew that the Saudis were tar­get­ing Khashoggi, the Post re­ported, but it’s un­clear whether they warned him. The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion, which con­sid­ers Saudi Ara­bia a cru­cial ally against Iran, called on Saudi Ara­bia to sup­port a “thor­ough in­ves­ti­ga­tion” into Khashoggi’s dis­ap­pear­ance. Saudi of­fi­cials strongly de­nied all al­le­ga­tions and said they are con­cerned about Khashoggi’s wel­fare. But Saudi ac­tivists who live abroad told CNN they are afraid to go home or use con­sular ser­vices while Mo­hammed is in charge. “I re­ally don’t un­der­stand what’s hap­pen­ing in my coun­try,” one said. “Ev­ery­where I go, I meet [Saudis] who are fil­ing for asy­lum.”


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