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Saudi Arabia responds to disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi

Saudi Arabia has denied it knows the fate of Khashoggi [AFP]

Date of publication: 4 October, 2018

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Saudi Arabia has officially responded to the disappearance of journalist and commentator Jamal Khashoggi.
Saudi Arabia has officially responded to the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, after the Saudi journalist vanished this week following a visit to the country's consulate in Istanbul.

The kingdom's official press agency said early Thursday it was following up with Turkish authorities about the renowned Saudi political commentator.

Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate on Tuesday to complete paperwork, with his Turkish fiancé waiting outside the mission.

When he failed to re-emerge from the building, she raised the alarm with Turkish authorities launching an investigation into Khashoggi's whereabouts.

Saudi Arabia insists he left the building, but Turkish authorities believe he is being held inside the consulate building and CCTV footage does not show him departing.

Riyadh still insists that it has no information about Khashoggi’s fate, despite calls from a major media watchdog and human rights groups to reveal his whereabouts.

"The consulate general of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul said that it was following up on the media reports of the disappearance of Saudi citizen Jamal Khashoggi after he left the building of the Saudi consulate in Istanbul," a statement in the Saudi Press Agency read.

"The consulate confirmed that it is carrying out follow-up procedures and coordination with the Turkish local authorities to uncover the circumstances of the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi after he left the consulate building."

Khashoggi fled Saudi Arabia last September following his criticism of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Yemen war, and then-Riyadh ally US President Donald Trump.

He has been living in the US since, and been one of the kingdom's most critical voices of the Yemen war.

At least 11 journalists are currently being detained in Saudi Arabia and the kingdom ranks as one of the worst in the world for the media.

Bin Salman has also detained dozens of potential royal and business rivals and held them in Riyadh's Ritz Hotel, including world famous entrepreneur Prince Alwaleed bin Talal. A number of human rights campaigners and women's rights activists have also been held by Saudi authorities.

A recent BBC documentary also claimed that three princes were abducted by Saudi authorities from abroad before being hurried back to the kingdom, and have not been heard of since.

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