Jamal Khashoggi case: All the latest updates

US president for the first time publicly acknowledges Saudi journalist likely killed, urges 'severe consequences'.

    Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi entered Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul on October 2 to obtain a document certifying he divorced his ex-wife so he could remarry. He has not been seen since.

    Turkish sources have told media outlets they believe the Saudi writer and critic was killed inside the consulate in what they described as "premeditated murder".

    Saudi officials have countered that claim, insisting Khashoggi left the building before vanishing.

    Here are the latest developments:

    Friday, October 19

    Turkish foreign minister denies sharing audio recordings with Washington

    Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has dismissed reports Ankara shared audio recordings documenting the alleged murder of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi with the United States, according to Reuters news agency.

    On Thursday, reports suggested Turkish officials had provided US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with a recording indicating Khashoggi was killed by Saudi operatives after entering the Kingdom's consulate in Istanbul earlier this month.

    Cavusoglu also said Turkey has evidence and information obtained from its ongoing investigation into Khashoggi's disappearance on October 2, and will share the results of the probe "transparently" with the world.

    British Foreign Secretary: UK to take 'considered' response to results of Khashoggi probe

    British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the UK government will take a "considered" response to any results that emerge from the ongoing investigation into the disappearance of Khashoggi.

    How dangerous is it to be a journalist in the Arab world?

    He also warned that allegations the Saudi writer and critic was brutally murdered would be totally unacceptable if proven to be true.

    "Part of our reaction will depend on the Saudi reaction, and whether we sense that they are taking it as seriously as we are taking it. But this is a very, very serious matter," Hunt told the BBC.

    "Our relationship with Saudi is a strategic relationship as well. Our response will be considered ... [but] in the end, if these stories are true, we have to be absolutely clear, it would not be consistent with our values."

    Thursday, October 18

    Turkish investigators widen search in bid to find Khashoggi's body

    Turkish police widened their search for disappeared Saudi writer and critic Jamal Khashoggi to a forest on the outskirts of Istanbul and a city near the Sea of Marmara, two Turkish officials told Reuters news agency.

    The 60-year-old was last seen entering Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul on October 2 and is suspected to have been killed inside the building in what has been described by Turkish sources as a "premeditated murder".

    The officials told Reuters that the Khashoggi's body may have been dumped in Belgrad Forest, adjacent to Istanbul, and at a rural location near the city of Yalova, about 90km south of Istanbul.

    Investigators have already recovered "many samples" from searches of the Saudi consulate, the officials added, which will now be analysed for traces of his DNA.

    Amnesty raises alarm over tennis stars' participation in Saudi exhibition match

    Amnesty International UK has warned Tennis superstars Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic their participation in an exhibition match due to be held in the Saudi city of Jeddah in December could "sportswash" the Kingdom's "truly appalling human rights record", UK newspaper The Times reported.

    Announced earlier this month, the so-called King Salman Tennis Championship, has come under increased scrutiny as a result of mounting international concern and media focus regarding the fate of missing Saudi writer and critic Jamal Khashoggi.

    "It's not for us to say which countries should and shouldn't be hosting sporting competitions, but it's also clear that countries like Saudi Arabia are well aware of the potential for sport to subtly 'rebrand' a country," The Times quoted Allan Hogarth, head of advocacy and programmes at Amnesty International UK, as saying.

    "Even before the extremely alarming case of Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi Arabia had a truly appalling human rights record and any sportsperson needs to understand that their participation in sporting events in the country could be used as a form of 'sportswashing'," Hogarth added.

    "It's up to Nadal and Djokovic where they play their lucrative exhibition matches, but if they go to Jeddah we'd like to see them using their profiles to raise human rights issues. Tweeting support for Saudi Arabia's brave human rights defenders would be a start."

    Neither of the pair have made any public comment regarding the event since October 7, when they both said on Twitter they were "looking forward to playing [the match] and visiting [Saudi Arabia]".

    NYT: Saudis may blame intelligence official for Khashoggi killing

    Saudi rulers are considering blaming a top intelligence official close to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the suspected killing of Jamal Khashoggi, the New York Times reported.

    Global reactions to #Khashoggi 'murder'

    Citing three people with knowledge of the Saudi plans, the newspaper said Saudi Arabia is planning to assign blame to General Ahmed al-Assiri, a high-ranking adviser to the crown prince.

    People close to the White House have already been briefed about the plan and given Assiri's name, the Times said.

    "The Saudis are already pointing to General Assiri as the culprit," it reported.

    Assiri previously served as the spokesman for the Saudi-Emirati led military coalition fighting in Yemen.

    According the Times, the Saudi leadership is expected to say Assiri received the green-light from the crown prince to rendition Khashoggi to Saudi Arabia, but he either "misunderstood his instructions or overstepped", according to two sources speaking on condition of anonymity.

    Pompeo listened Khashoggi 'murder' recording: report

    US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo listened to an alleged audio recording of Khashoggi's killing, ABC News reported, citing a senior Turkish official.

    The Turkish official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Pompeo listened to the recording on Wednesday during a meeting in Turkey, adding he was also given a transcript of it.

    Turkish officials also believe Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi consulate following a struggle that lasted eight minutes and they believe he died of strangulation.

    The State Department denied the report. "Secretary Pompeo has neither heard a tape nor has he seen a transcript related to Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance," spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.

    US' Pompeo briefing on #Khashoggi 'murder' after Saudi visit

    Dozens of American lawmakers demand Saudi sanctions

    More than 40 lawmakers pressed US President Donald Trump to impose sanctions against Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi's disappearance and suspected murder.

    "If your immediate investigation and determination are consistent with ongoing media reports about this outrageous action, we urge strong, comprehensive sanctions," members of the House of Representatives said in a letter, which also called for an end to US support for Saudi Arabia's military action in Yemen.

    Democratic Congressman Jim McGovern introduced a bill in the House of Representatives that would halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia unless Secretary of State Mike Pompeo certifies the kingdom did not order the killing of Khashoggi. The bill currently has eight co-sponsors from both political parties.

    The lawmakers also voiced support for their colleagues in the Senate, who have already triggered an investigation into Khashoggi's disappearance under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act.

    US VP: 'World deserves answers' on Khashoggi

    Vice President Mike Pence said after Saudi Arabia reports the results of its investigation - and the administration looks at other available information - it will decide what to do next.

    "The world needs to know what happened here, and those who are responsible need to be held to account," Pence said.

    "We'll collect all the evidence and then the president will have a decision about what the proper course of action is for us going forward. The world deserves answers. If what has been alleged occurred - if an innocent person lost their life at the hands of violence - that's to be condemned.

    "If a journalist, in particular, lost their life at the hands of violence, that's an affront to a free and independent press around the world, and there will be consequences. But, we'll wait for the facts. We'll wait for all the information to come in." 

    Trump: 'Certainly looks' like Khashoggi is dead

    US President Donald Trump says it "certainly looks" as though Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi is dead.

    Trump did not say what he based his conclusion on, but told reporters at Andrews Air Force Base the consequences for the Saudis "will have to be very severe" if they are found to have killed him.

    "It's bad, bad stuff," he said.

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    Turkey expands Khashoggi search to wooded areas

    Turkish investigators widened their probe into Khashoggi's disappearance to include three different areas on the outskirts of Istanbul, officials told Al Jazeera.

    "Investigators tracked the vehicles that left the Saudi consulate and consul general's residence on the day Khashoggi disappeared to these areas. They used traffic cameras to do that," Al Jazeera's Jamal Elshayyal said, citing sources at the Turkish prosecutor's office.

    One area investigators are searching was a forest called Belgrad, roughly 16km from Istanbul's city centre, Elshayyal said, while the other was farmland in Turkey's Yalova province, about 93km east of the city.

    Saudi prince's companion at consulate when Khashoggi vanished

    A member of Crown Prince Mohammed's entourage during several trips abroad walked into the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul just before Khashoggi vanished there, according to photos published by Turkish newspaper Sabah.

    The man, identified as Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb by Turkish officials, has been photographed in the background of Prince Mohammed's trips to the US, France and Spain this year.

    Surveillance pictures published by Sabah show Mutreb walking past police barricades at the consulate at 9:55am on October 2 with several men trailing behind him.

    Khashoggi arrived at the consulate several hours later at 1:14pm, and never re-emerged.

    Turkish officials identified the man as Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb [Sabah via AP]

    Rights groups seek UN probe over Khashoggi

    Four prominent human rights and press freedom groups urged Turkey to request a UN investigation into Khashoggi's suspected murder to prevent a "whitewash" of the alleged crime.

    The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders said Turkey should enlist the UN "to initiate a timely, credible, and transparent investigation".

    "UN involvement is the best guarantee against a Saudi whitewash or attempts by other governments to sweep the issue under the carpet to preserve lucrative business ties with Riyadh," said Robert Mahoney, deputy executive director of the CPJ.

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    US Treasury Secretary withdraws from Riyadh conference

    Secretary of US Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, says he will not attend next week's investment conference in Saudi Arabia as a probe continues into the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

    US gives Saudi Arabia 'few more days' on Khashoggi

    US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he told President Donald Trump that the US should give Saudi Arabia a few more days to wrap up its investigation into Khashoggi's disappearance.

    "I told President Trump this morning that we ought to give them a few more days ... so that we too have a complete understanding of the facts" before deciding on a response, Pompeo told reporters at the White House.

    Putin wants more evidence on Khashoggi's fate

    Saudi Crown Prince in the spotlight after #Khashoggi 'murder'

    Vladimir Putin says Russia will wait for the outcome of an investigation into Khashoggi's disappearance before deciding what impact the writer's fate may have on relations with Saudi Arabia.

    Speaking at an international policy forum in Sochi, the Russian president called Khashoggi's disappearance a "tragedy", but said Moscow needs "to understand what happened" before deciding what impact it may have on ties with Riyadh.

    "Those who believe that there was a murder must present evidence," he said.

    Biden: Trump 'seems to have a love affair with autocrats'

    A former US Vice President has criticised Trump's response to Khashoggi's disappearance, saying the president "coddles" dictators.

    Joe Biden told CBS' "This Morning" programme that if Saudi Arabia is found to be responsible for the journalist's suspected murder, the kingdom should "absolutely, positively" face consequences.

    Biden, who has been tipped as a potential Democratic presidential candidate for the 2020 elections, said the "retaliation" could take the form of cancelled arms sales.

    He added that his doubts about Crown Prince Mohammed leadership have "been confirmed".

    "My doubts are that there's very little of rule of law, respect for human rights, dignity and the allegations that are made so far - we don't know yet - are not inconsistent with the way the kingdom would act and so I'm very worried that the president seems to have a love affair with autocrats and the idea that he's already making excuses before the facts are known is typical but it hurts us internationally," he said.

    UK trade minister pulls out of Saudi conference

    British trade minister Liam Fox has pulled out of the Saudi investment summit, saying the time "was not right for him" to attend the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh on October 23.

    "The UK remains very concerned about Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance," a spokesperson for the minister said. "Those bearing responsibility for his disappearance must be held to account."

    Audio 'reveals Khashoggi was beaten as he entered the consulate'

    Sources in the Turkish police and public prosecutor's office have told Al Jazeera that an 11-minute audio recording reveals Khashoggi was beaten up as he entered the Saudi consulate.

    The recording purportedly features voices in the A and B blocks of the consulate building, which are part of the building's entrance.

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    The information comes a day after Turkish authorities searched the Saudi consulate and the residence of the consul general.

    Fingerprints found during the search include those of Salah Muhammad al-Tubaigy, an autopsy expert from Naif Arab University for Security Sciences.

    He is among the 15 men suspected of forming a Saudi hit squad to kill Khashoggi. His fingerprints were found around an electrical socket in the consulate.

    None of the men entered Turkey on fake passports, according to sources in the public prosecutor's office, who say some are thought to have used diplomatic passports.

    Sources have also told Al Jazeera that an individual close to Khashoggi is believed to have been relaying information back to Saudi Arabia about the journalist's actions and whereabouts since he left the kingdom.

    Dutch cancel Saudi trade mission

    The Dutch government cancelled a trade mission to Saudi Arabia next month due to concerns over the disappearance of Khashoggi, a spokeswoman said.

    "All trade missions to the country have been suspended for now," a spokeswoman for PSPS Consultants, which had organised the trip for the government told Reuters.

    The decision came minutes after Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra said he was scrapping plans to attend the Future Investment Initiatives conference in Riyadh next week.

    Also on Thursday, the CEO of French defence electronics group Thales announced that he would no longer be attending the conference, however the company will still be represented by Jean-Loic Galle, an executive in Thales' space division.

    Searches turn up fingerprints and 'important samples'

    Turkish sources have told Al Jazeera that "important samples" were found during searches of two Saudi diplomatic buildings in Istanbul on Wednesday.

    Al Jazeera's Charles Stratford, reporting from Istanbul, said particular attention had been paid to an area of the consulate called the "C-block".

    "It was only open to diplomatic staff. Sources in the last couple of hours have said that they have very strong evidence that Khashoggi was killed inside the C-block of the consulate.

    Khashoggi disappearance: Trump asks Turkey for recordings

    Sources told Al Jazeera that they found fingerprints inside C-block of six of the 15 men accused of forming part of a hit-squad.

    Investigators spent more than 12 hours scouring the consulate and consul general's residence for clues about Khashoggi's fate.

    French economy minister pulls out of Saudi conference

    French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire has become the latest high-profile figure to drop out of an economic conference in Saudi Arabia over the alleged murder of Khashoggi.

    "I won't go to Riyadh next week," he told France's Public Senate TV channel on Thursday, saying the journalist's disappearance was "very serious".

    Companies such as Uber, JP Morgan Chase and HSBC have also dropped out, along with media giants CNN, The Financial Times and The New York Times.

    Turkish investigators leave Saudi consul's residence

    Turkish investigators who searched the Saudi consul-general's residence in Istanbul recovered "samples" after examining the premises for more than nine hours, according to sources at the prosecutor's office.

    "Whether these were samples of DNA or blood samples is unclear. Apparently, according to sources, these were quite convincing in terms of evidence," said Al Jazeera's Andrew Simmons, reporting from outside the building.

    The forensics team scoured the residence, garage and garden as well, Simmons said. Turkish investigators were seen leaving the building carrying boxes and bags.

    Sources say there is video evidence that a car drove from the Saudi consulate to the consul general's residence on the day Khashoggi disappeared.

    Saudi Consul General Mohammed al-Otaibi and his family unexpectedly left Turkey on Tuesday.

    Turkish investigators also re-examined the Saudi consulate after searching it for nine hours on Monday as part of the Khashoggi investigation.

    Turkey's interior minister said the investigation's results will be "shared with the world", which could happen this week.

    Turkish newspaper gives graphic detail of alleged murder

    A pro-government Turkish newspaper published a gruesome recount of Khashoggi's alleged killing at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

    Yeni Safak reported Khashoggi was killed within minutes of entering the consulate and his torturers severed his fingers during an interrogation. His killers later beheaded and dismembered him, it said, citing an alleged audio recording of the attack.

    The newspaper said Saudi Consul General Mohammed al-Otaibi could be heard on the tape telling those allegedly torturing Khashoggi: "Do this outside; you're going to get me in trouble."

    The newspaper said one of the men torturing Khashoggi replied: "Shut up if you want to live when you return to [Saudi] Arabia."

    A New York Times report cited a senior Turkish official confirming the details published by Yeni Safak.

    Turkey has not shared with the US government or European allies graphic audio or video evidence, seven US and European security officials told Reuters news agency.

    The United States and allies have collected some intelligence through their own sources and methods, which partly confirms news reports based on leaks of audio recordings, four of the sources said.

    A man holds a Yeni Safak newspaper with the headline: '[To the Saudi consul] Shut up' [Burhan Ozbilici/AP]

    Trump denies covering for Saudis

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    US President Donald Trump denied covering up for ally Saudi Arabia in Khashoggi's suspected murder.

    Trump's comments followed the publication in pro-government Turkish media of allegations purporting to confirm Khashoggi was not only murdered by Saudi agents in their consulate in Istanbul, but tortured and dismembered.

    "No not at all, I just want to find out what's happening," Trump told reporters in the White House when asked if his cautious approach to the scandal amounts to a cover-up.

    "I'm not giving cover at all."

    The president said he would get a "full report" from Pompeo on the diplomat's return from meetings with Saudi and Turkish leaders, allowing him to assess what really happened.

    "We will probably know that by the end of the week," Trump said.

    Turkish forensic experts leave the Saudi consulate in Istanbul early Thursday [Murad Sezer/Reuters]

    Mnuchin to decide Thursday if attending Saudi conference

    US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says he will decide on Thursday whether he will attend an investment conference in Riyadh that has been boycotted by global business leaders concerned about Khashoggi's fate.

    Mnuchin said he will "revisit the decision again" after reviewing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's report on the case on Thursday.

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    Washington Post publishes new Khashoggi column

    The Washington Post published a new column by Khashoggi, in which he discussed the importance of a free press in the Middle East.

    Governments in the region "have been given free rein to continue silencing the media at an increasing rate", he wrote.

    Khashoggi condemned what he called silence from the international community over attacks on press freedom, saying imprisonment of journalists and seizing control of newspapers "no longer carry the consequence of a backlash from the international community".

    "Instead, these actions may trigger condemnation followed by silence," he wrote.

    Post Global Opinions editor Karen Attiah said she received the column from Khashoggi's assistant a day after he was reported missing.

    The newspaper also plans to publish a page dedicated to Khashoggi in its opinions section on Thursday.

    US senators press Trump on Saudi business ties

    Eleven Democratic senators have sent a letter to Trump and to the Trump Organization seeking a full accounting of any financial ties between the Trump Organization and Saudi Arabia.

    "It is imperative that this sanctions determination, and US policy towards Saudi Arabia generally, are not influenced by any conflicts of interest that may exist because of your or your family's deep financial ties to Saudi Arabia," the senators wrote to Trump.

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    The lawmakers also voiced support for their colleagues in the Senate, who have already triggered an investigation into Khashoggi's disappearance under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act.

     

    Where does the Jamal Khashoggi case leave Saudi Arabia?

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    Where does the Jamal Khashoggi case leave Saudi Arabia?

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies