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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 October 2018

Rumours of Jamal Khashoggi killing are 'malicious' and 'outrageous', says Saudi ambassador to DC 

Turkish police say journalist was tortured and killed by a Saudi team 

Protestors hold pictures of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul. AFP
Protestors hold pictures of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul. AFP

Prince Khalid bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the US, said that reports of Jamal Khashoggi being killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul are "absolutely false and baseless".

Rumours and leaks on what happened to Mr Khashoggi are “malicious" and “outrageous” Prince Khalid said. "Jamal has many friends in the Kingdom, including myself, and despite our differences, and his choice to go into his so-called 'self-exile', we still maintained regular contact when he was in Washington."

The comments come after the disappearance of the journalist after visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last week.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told Bloomberg last week that Mr Khashoggi left the building shortly after entering it. But Turkish police allege the journalist was tortured and killed by a team flown in from the Kingdom. The Saudi government denied the allegation.

Prince Khalid said the Istanbul consulate is fully co-operating with the local authorities. He also said a Saudi team was sent to Istanbul to co-operate with the Turkish authorities. “Jamal is a Saudi citizen whose safety and security is a top priority,” he said.

On Tuesday, Turkey's foreign ministry said it obtained permission to search the consulate as part of the investigation into the Saudi journalist's disappearance.

US President Donald Trump expressed his concern regarding reports on Mr Khashoggi's fate.

"I am concerned about that, I don't like hearing about it and hopefully that will sort itself out. Right now, nobody knows anything about it."

"There's some pretty bad stories about it. I do not like it," Mr Trump said.

British foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt voiced his concerns on Tuesday, according to a statement from the Foreign Office.

“The foreign secretary has today spoken to his Saudi counterpart, foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir, about the case of Jamal Khashoggi. Mr Hunt stressed that if media reports from the weekend regarding Mr Khashoggi’s case prove correct, that would be extremely concerning and the UK will treat the incident very seriously - friendships depend on shared values.

“Mr Hunt urged the Saudi Government to cooperate fully with the Turkish investigation into the case, and to provide further information as soon as possible.”

Meanwhile, two prominent human rights organizations condemned Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch politicization of Mr Khashoggi's case.

The Arab Organization for Human Rights in Britain and Europe and the Gulf Association for Rights and Freedom said Mr Khashoggi's family are coordinating with the Saudi authorities and are confident that the right actions will be taken.

Mr Khashoggi, 59, went missing while on a visit to the consulate in Istanbul for paperwork to marry his Turkish fiancée. The consulate insists the writer left its premises, contradicting Turkish officials.

He had been living since last year in the United States, in a self-imposed exile. As a contributor to The Washington Post, Mr Khashoggi wrote extensively and critically about Saudi Arabia.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday urged the Saudis to back up their claim that Mr Khashoggi left the consulate.

"Now when this person enters, whose duty is it to prove that he left or not? It is [the duty] of the consulate officials," Mr Erdogan said during a visit to Hungary. "Don't you have cameras and other things? Why don't you prove it, you have to prove it."

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Read more:

Jamal Khashoggi: From semi-official spokesman to self-imposed exile

Turkey asks to search Saudi consulate where Jamal Khashoggi was last seen

Turkey's Erdogan hopes case of missing journalist ends 'positively'

Saudi Arabia 'ready to welcome' Turkish search of Istanbul consulate for missing journalist