Turkish Investigators Revisit Saudi Consulate as Pompeo Prepares to Brief Trump

Jamal Khashoggi has not been seen since entering Saudi consulate in Istanbul two weeks ago

Jamal Khashoggi has not been seen since entering Saudi consulate in Istanbul two weeks ago Credit Hasan Jamali AP

When asked about Khashoggi's disappearance last Thursday, Trump said that while "we don't like it even a little bit", it wouldn't be "acceptable" to him to stop selling billions of dollars worth of weapons to Riyadh.

Turkish officials say they believe Khashoggi - a U.S. resident and Washington Post columnist critical of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman - was murdered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 and his body removed.

The Post initially held off on publishing the column amid hope for Khashoggi's return, the paper's Global Opinions editor Karen Attiah said in a note at the top of the essay. "I think we have to find out what happened first", he said. "You're going to get me in trouble".

On Thursday, the Post published what it described as Khashoggi's last column in honor of the missing journalist.

It is believed he was tortured, murdered and dismembered in the presence of up to 15 Saudi officials, including Dr al-Tubaigy and Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, who is a bodyguard for the Crown Prince.

Writer Jamal Khashoggi disappeared at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on the same day. Turkish officials have said he was murdered, and the Turkish newspaper's report said an audio recording revealed gory details about Khashoggi's demise inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. According to a Turkish daily newspaper, which claimed it had obtained tapes from the consulate, Khashoggi was tortured and had his fingers cut off during interrogation and then decapitated.

Khashoggi, a former regime insider who became critical of Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, wrote articles for titles including the Washington Post. An IMF spokesman said she had postponed her planned trip to the Middle East with a stop in Saudi Arabia.

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Attiah said the article, titled "What the Arab world needs most is free expression", was the ideal example of the writer's "commitment and passion for freedom in the Arab world", a freedom she said he "apparently gave his life for". Saudi officials have denied the allegations as "baseless", but haven't provided evidence of the writer leaving the diplomatic mission alive.

Mnuchin made the announcement on his Twitter account, saying that the decision was made after a White House meeting with President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

"You know we need Saudi Arabia in terms of our fight against all of the terrorism, everything that's happening in Iran and other places".

The New York Times reported Tuesday that a suspect identified by Turkey was a frequent companion of the prince's.

The Trump administration has come under scrutiny for its response to the Khashoggi case.

Dr Fox's withdrawal leaves Steve Mnuchen, the United States treasury secretary, as one of the last Western officials still scheduled to attend the conference after wave of cancellations.

Saudi authorities, meanwhile, have said Khashoggi left the consulate without being harmed shortly after he arrived.

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