A prominent Saudi journalist has mysteriously disappeared after visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.
Jamal Khashoggi, a columnist for the Washington Post, reportedly entered the building on the afternoon of Oct. 2 "to complete an application related to family matters" but has not been seen since.
“He entered at 1pm [11am BST] and hasn’t surfaced since then. I have no media statements to make at this point, but I have contacted Turkish authorities for help,” Khashoggi’s fiancee, who wished to remain anonymous, told Middle East Eye.
The journalist's fiancee, who is a Turkish citizen, she became worried after she waited for several hours in the foreigner's hall, up until the consulate's closing time, but Khashoggi did not re-emerge.
Khashoggi is one of Saudi Arabia's fiercest critics.
But he wasn't always.
In fact, he was an advisor to the Saudi royal family. However, his writings became slightly critical as King Salman's son, Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), began amassing more political power in 2016. In December, that year, the Saudi government even put a ban on Khashoggi for criticizing Saudi ally, then U.S. President-elect Donald Trump.
In September 2017, when MBS eventually assumed his role as the crown prince, Khashoggi fled to Washington, D.C. and had been living there since in self-exile.
Khashoggi left Saudi Arabia but did not stop calling out problematic Saudi policies spearheaded by MBS.
"Not on his watch. I haven't heard him make even the slightest inference that he would open the country for power-sharing, for democracy," said Khashoggi.
After he fled, Khashoggi's wife remained in Saudi Arabia. Later, they got divorced. The journalists was reportedly trying to get married to his Turkish fiancee and for that reason, he needed to get some documentation done at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
The Washington Post also confirmed his disappearance:
Our contributor Jamal Khashoggi entered the consulate of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul on Tuesday afternoon. Many hours later, there is still no news from him. @JKhashoggi #JamalKhashoggiDisappeared #??????_????_?????? https://t.co/BHqPluYMxM— Jason Rezaian (@jrezaian) October 2, 2018
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