The Missing Saudi Journalist, Put Simply

By Senior Campaign Agent Imogen Granger

Jamal Khashoggi has been missing since the 2nd of October. The disappearance of the Saudi Journalist has caused uproar across the globe as allegations of kidnapping and murder have been hurled at Saudi authorities. 

Mr Khashoggi is a Saudi Arabian journalist, author, and the former editor in chief of Al-Arab News. For many years he was a close member of the inner circle of the Saudi Regime; however, after becoming a well-known critic of crown prince Mohammad Bin Salan, he became unpopular with the government and no longer felt safe in the country. He fled Saudi Arabia in June last year and became a US resident, writing for the Washington Post as a columnist. 

The Saudi regime has an unpleasant history of using unlawful means in order to crush dissidents and bring back members of the inner circle who have caused embarrassment abroad. Mr Khashoggi was last seen entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. He was visiting Turkey to pick up necessary paperwork in order to finalise his marriage to 36-year-old PhD student Hatice Cengiz. However, after having a supposedly ‘positive first meeting’ he was told to return for a second meeting on the 2nd October. This was when he was last seen by Cengiz who waited for him outside the Consulate but was told by staff that he left. At this point she contacted the Turkish police.

A series of allegations and theories have followed these events as there is little known evidence surrounding Mr Khashoggi’s whereabouts. International media outlets have speculated that he was murdered by Saudi authorities in retaliation for his criticism. However, the Saudi regime has denied responsibility for his disappearance or death. 

On the 9th October, Cengiz wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post, asking the President to help shed light on her fiancé’s disappearance. This prompted Trump to publicly address the situation of the missing journalist and put pressure on the Saudi King for answers. While they have been openly denying allegations, there are unconfirmed reports in the US media that suggest Saudi Arabia is preparing to admit that Khashoggi died as a result of an interrogation that went wrong. To add flames to the fire, Turkish authorities also claim to have audio and video evidence of the killing.  

The political fallout from this disappearance has been huge. As one of the world’s largest oil exporters, the actions of Saudi Arabia are of significant importance to leaders worldwide. Several politicians have pulled out of a Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh including British Trade Secretary Liam Fox, French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire, and the Foreign Minister of the Netherlands

While the fate of Mr Khashoggi remains unknown, it is certain that the international community will continue to put pressure on Saudi Arabia until the actuality of his disappearance is made clear. 

Sources and Further Reading 

Image: POMED @flickr

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