It’s been almost a week since a prominent Saudi journalist vanished after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Jamal Khashoggi went there to get paperwork so he could marry his Turkish fiancée, and he hasn’t been seen or heard from since Oct. 2.
Saudi authorities insist he left the consulate. But Turkey has formally requested access to search the Saudi Consulate as part of what Turkish officials say is a murder investigation.
Who is Jamal Khashoggi? He’s a Saudi national who once served as an adviser to the Saudi royal family but fell out of favor after he voiced criticism of the government. As a columnist for the Washington Post, Khashoggi has criticized Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for his policies.
The prince promised social and economic reform, but Khashoggi pointed to the escalating crackdown on dissent voices and the media in Saudi Arabia.
Back in March, Khashoggi appeared on Al Jazeera’s “UpFront” and said there wasn’t any room for debate in Saudi Arabia with journalists jailed for questioning its policies. “As we speak today, there are Saudi intellectuals and journalists jailed. Now, nobody will dare to speak and criticize the reforms,” Khashoggi said.
Last year, Khashoggi left Saudi Arabia in fear of retribution, and he’s been living in self-imposed exile in the U.S.
Washington Post international opinions editor Eli Lopez said in a statement, “It would be unfair and outrageous if he has been detained for his work as a journalist and commentator. We hope that he is safe and that we can hear from him soon.”
The U.S. State Department is looking into accusations that Saudi Arabia was involved in the alleged murder of Khashoggi.