RSF calls for independent worldwide investigation into Khashoggi's disappearance

RSF calls for independent worldwide investigation into Khashoggi's disappearance

A Turkish TV station has aired CCTV footage of missing dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi walking into the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul last Tuesday, with a black van later arriving and presumably taking him away.

Khashoggi had fled his homeland in September past year and had been living in self-imposed exile in the United States, where he had applied for U.S. citizenship, Cengiz said.

Beyond that, conjecture and anonymous security sources paint a picture of possible abduction and even murder, with the Saudi consulate in Istanbul at the centre of a mystery that has captured the global media's attention.

Saudi Arabia has remained silent as the images have played across television networks in Turkey and around the world. Turkish officials have said they fear the columnist was killed on the premises.

One of the vans is reported to have taken some of the men from the consulate to the nearby residence of the Saudi consul about two hours after Mr Khashoggi's arrival.

The Sabah newspaper, which is close to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, identified the team members, including several alleged security officials, and published photos of each of them, apparently taken at passport control.

The fiancée of missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has asked President Donald Trump to help uncover what happened to the Riyadh critic who she said had "been fighting for his principles".

The Saudi government has refuted those allegations, saying that Khashoggi left the consulate shortly after he entered.

Protesters hold posters of Khashoggi during a demonstration organized by members of the Turkish-Arabic Media Association at the entrance to the consulate on Monday. The footage does not show Khashoggi himself leaving the consulate.

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Police and investigators in Turkey typically release video and information through state-run or otherwise government-friendly media outlets, as opposed to holding briefings like those common in Western nations.

On Wednesday, the Post published a column by Khashoggi's fiancée, Hatice Cengiz.

He later returned October 2 after being promised the necessary paperwork so the two could be married.

Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributor who has written columns critical of the kingdom's powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, went missing on October 2 after entering the consulate for paperwork needed to marry his Turkish fiancée.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said on Wednesday the United States is ready to help in any way in the investigation of the disappearance of prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

In his first column for the newspaper, Mr Khashoggi said that he feared being arrested in an apparent crackdown on dissent overseen by the prince since he became first in line to succeed his father King Salman earlier that year.

Tuesday's statement from the Turkish Foreign Ministry's spokesman, Hami Aksoy, said Saudi authorities had notified Ankara that they were "open to cooperation" and would allow the consulate building to be searched.

Embassies and consulates under the Vienna Convention are technically foreign soil and must be protected by host nations.

In an off-the-record interview published by the BBC, Khashoggi said he didn't think he'd be able to go back to Saudi Arabia, but still called Mohammad bin Salman's reforms a time of "great transformation" in his country.

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