In a still image from surveillance camera footage taken Oct. 2, 2018, and published Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018, by the pro-government Turkish newspaper Sabah, a man previously seen with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s entourage during an April trip to the U.S. walks toward the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul just before writer Jamal Khashoggi disappeared there. (Sabah via AP )

Man linked to Saudi prince at consulate when writer vanished

Saudi Arabia, which initially called the allegations “baseless,” has not responded to repeated requests for comment from The Associated Press over recent days.

A man who previously travelled with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s entourage to the United States entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul just before writer Jamal Khashoggi vanished there, according to images published Thursday by a pro-government Turkish newspaper.

The Sabah newspaper’s report showed the man also later outside the Saudi consul general’s home, checking out of a Turkish hotel as a large suitcase stood by his side, and leaving Turkey on Oct. 2.

The report came as Turkish crime-scene investigators finished an overnight search of both the consul general’s residence and a second search of the consulate itself amid Ankara’s fears that Saudi authorities had Khashoggi killed and dismembered inside the diplomatic mission in Istanbul.

Saudi Arabia, which initially called the allegations “baseless,” has not responded to repeated requests for comment from The Associated Press over recent days, including on Thursday.

The Sabah report showed the man walking past police barricades at the consulate at 9:55 a.m. with several men trailing behind him. Khashoggi arrived at the consulate several hours later at 1:14 p.m., then disappeared while his fiancée waited outside for him.

A report Wednesday by the pro-government newspaper Yeni Safak, citing what it described as an audio recording of Khashoggi’s slaying, said a Saudi team immediately accosted the 60-year-old journalist after he entered the consulate, cutting off his fingers and later decapitating him.

Previously leaked surveillance footage showed consular vehicles moving from the consulate to the consul general’s official residence, some 2 kilometres (1.2 miles) away, a little under two hours after Khashoggi walked inside. The Sabah newspaper showed an image of the man at 4:53 p.m. at the consul’s home, then at 5:15 p.m. checking out of a hotel. He later cleared airport security at 5:58 p.m.

Security services in Turkey have used pro-government media to leak details of Khashoggi’s case, adding to the pressure on the kingdom.

Related: Trump: Saudi king ‘firmly denies’ any role in Khashoggi mystery

Related: Joint inspection planned for missing journalist at Saudi Consulate

The AP could not immediately verify the man’s identity, though he’s one of the individuals previously identified by Turkish authorities as being involved in the 15-man Saudi team that targeted Khashoggi.

Images shot by the Houston Chronicle and later distributed by the AP show the same man was in Prince Mohammed’s entourage when he visited a Houston subdivision in April to see rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Harvey. The same man wore lapel pins, including one of the flags of Saudi Arabia and America intertwined, that other bodyguards accompanying Prince Mohammed wore on the trip.

The three-week trip across the U.S. saw Prince Mohammed meet with business leaders and celebrities, including Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos, who now owns the Post.

The searches and the leaks in Turkish media have ensured the world’s attention remains focused on what happened to Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist who went into a self-imposed exile in the United States over the rise of Prince Mohammed. It also put further strains on the relationship between the kingdom, the world’s largest oil exporter, and its main security guarantor, the U.S., as tensions with Iran and elsewhere in the Middle East remain high.

Flying back home after a visit to both Saudi Arabia and Turkey, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo remained positive Wednesday about an ongoing Saudi probe into Khashoggi’s disappearance, but he stressed that answers are needed.

“Sooner’s better than later for everyone,” Pompeo said.

President Donald Trump, who initially came out hard on the Saudis over the disappearance but since has backed off, said Wednesday that the U.S. wanted Turkey to turn over any audio or video recording it had of Khashoggi’s alleged killing “if it exists.”

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

In it, Khashoggi pointed to the muted international response to ongoing abuses against journalists by governments in the Middle East.

“As a result, Arab governments have been given free rein to continue silencing the media at an increasing rate,” Khashoggi wrote. He added: “The Arab world is facing its own version of an Iron Curtain, imposed not by external actors but through domestic forces vying for power.”

___

Fraser reported from Ankara, Turkey, while Gambrell reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Suzan Fraser, Sarah El Deeb And Jon Gambrell, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Reflecting on the impact of dementia in a loved one

January is Alzheimer Awareness Month

Red Deerians can weigh in on proposed Bighorn Country investment tonight

Telephone town hall takes place 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Vibrant colours highlight newest exhibit at The Hub

‘Chaos to Calm’ by Cathy Fee runs through to the end of March

Neonatal nurse practitioner joins NICU care team

Babies requiring specialized care at Red Deer Hospital have extra set of hands caring for them

The old Greyhound Bus Depot is being demolished

The Red Deer building has been around for decades

UK lawmakers reject Brexit deal in 432-202 vote

House of Commons votes against the deal struck between Britain’s government and the EU

B.C. boy, aunt missing for three days

The pair are missing from Kamloops

John Savage pleads guilty to manslaughter

Sentenced to 7 years for Stettler murder

Kentucky canoe outfit borrows photo of Trudeau family to market business

They are in a red canoe, all clad in life jackets, and Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and Ella-Grace are waving

UPDATE: Liberal bows out of byelection after singling out Jagmeet Singh’s race

Karen Wang says she made comments online that referenced Singh’s cultural background

UPDATED UCP MLA cries foul after brick thrown through office window

UPDATED St. Paul MLA Dave Hanson says ‘Over-the-top NDP rhetoric’ not based in reality

Theresa May wins no-confidence vote after Brexit deal rejection

UK PM can keep her job, after House of Commons voted 325-306

Alberta doctor accused of sexual assault asked to voluntarily give up practice

College says Dr. Barry Wollach should discontinue his practice, given the seriousness of the allegation against him

Defending champions Team Scheidegger will fight to keep title

Stettler hosting 2019 Alberta Scotties provincial women’s bonspiel

Most Read