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

Petition for free hospital parking presented to MP Jody Wilson-Raybould

What started as a Langley-based campaign became a national issue, organizer said

Aldergrove sees Centurion tank, tears, and war veterans march

An estimated 2,500 people paid their respects at the Aldergrove cenotaph on Nov. 11

Aldergrove eagles soar like planes in the Remembrance Day sky

Jim Sclater of Aldergrove penned his second poem in remembrance of Canada’s soldiers and veterans

Artists go incognito for new exhibition

Langley Arts Council display anonymous artwork up for sale at Township Civic Facility.

Suspect in Langley child’s murder appears in court

Kerryann Lewis is awaiting trial for first degree murder

‘We love you, Alex!’: Trebek gets choked up by ‘Jeopardy!’ contestant’s answer

The emotional moment came in Monday’s episode when Trebek read Dhruv Gaur’s final answer

Judge rejects Terrace man’s claim that someone else downloaded child porn on his phone

Marcus John Paquette argued that other people had used his phone, including his ex-wife

Bargaining to resume in Metro Vancouver transit strike as bus driver overtime ban looms

Both sides might be headed back to the table to prevent new overtime ban

Petition to ‘bring back Don Cherry’ goes viral after immigrant poppy rant

Cherry was fired from his co-hosting role for the Coach’s Corner segment on Nov. 11.

B.C.’s high gasoline prices still a mystery, Premier John Horgan says

NDP plans legislation this month, seeks action from Justin Trudeau

Group walking on thin ice at B.C. lake sparks warning from RCMP

At least seven people were spotted on Joffre Lakes, although the ice is not thick enough to be walked on

VIDEO: Don Cherry says he was fired, not sorry for ‘Coach’s Corner’ poppy rant

Cherry denies he was singling out visible minorities with his comments

B.C. teacher suspended for incessantly messaging student, writing friendship letter

Female teacher pursued Grade 12 student for friendship even after being rebuked

Disney Plus streaming service hits Canada with tech hurdles

Service costs $8.99 per month, or $89.99 per year, in Canada

Most Read