Saudi royal family planned Khashoggi hit: NY Times

Saudi royal family planned Khashoggi hit: NY Times

The consulate has other entrances and exits as well, and Saudi officials insist he left through one of them.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he does not know anything about Washington Post columnist Khashoggi's disappearance he had not yet spoken with Saudi officials about the situation, a week after the journalist disappeared.

Khashoggi had sought assurances about his safety from friends in the United States before visiting the consulate and had asked Cengiz to contact Turkish authorities if he failed to emerge. The Post, which first published the photo, said "a person close to the investigation" shared the image with them, without elaborating.

The hit squad finished the murder operation within two hours and departed Turkey for various countries, said the Times' source, citing information from "top Turkish officials".

Consulate officials, however, are not protected from prosecution for "grave crimes" such as murder, and might also be subjected to a civil suit if Khashoggi's family chose to sue.

Further reports said that a group of 15 Saudis entered the consulate on the same day as Khashoggi and soon left the country, and that Khashoggi had been dismembered and smuggled out of Turkey in small boxes.

Saudi Arabia has now invited Turkish experts and related officials to visit the consulate, according to Turkey's foreign ministry.

Khashoggi has been missing since Tuesday when he had an appointment at the Saudi consulate to get papers needed to marry his Turkish fiancee.

He added that investigations are still ongoing.

The suspects reportedly left the area with two cars whose license plates could be read by the police.

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"If the reports of Jamal's murder are true, it is a monstrous and unfathomable act", the Post's editorial page editor Fred Hiatt said in a statement.

Jamal Khashoggi is one of the Arab world's most prominent journalists and commentators. "He writes out of a sense of love for his country and deep faith in human dignity and freedom".

"We call on the government of Saudi Arabia to support a thorough investigation of Khashoggi's disappearance and to be transparent about the results of that investigation", Pompeo said in a statement.

The ambassador said the Istanbul consulate is fully cooperating with local authorities and that a Saudi team was sent to Istanbul to cooperate with their Turkish counterparts.

Erdogan pointed out that "security and intelligence officials are investigating Khashoggi's case, and the prosecution is checking up the records of the arrival and departure of Saudi citizens from Istanbul airport".

Saudi Arabia has said the accusations are "baseless" and claims Khashoggi left the consulate shortly after he arrived. He had been living since past year in the U.S.in a self-imposed exile, in part due to the rise of Prince Mohammed, the son of King Salman.

Khashoggi had written a series of columns for the Washington Post that were critical of Saudi Arabia's assertive Prince Mohammed, who has led a widely publicized drive to reform the conservative Sunni monarchy but has also presided over the arrests of activists and businessmen.

Khashoggi, 59, is a former government advisor who has criticized some of Prince Mohammed's policies and Riyadh's intervention in the war in Yemen. He moved to the U.S. more than a year ago, where he continued his commentary about his country both in print and on television.

More than 20 Republican and Democratic senators instructed Trump to order an investigation into Khashoggi's disappearance under legislation that authorizes imposition of sanctions for perpetrators of extrajudicial killings, torture or other gross human rights violations.

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