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

Maple Ridge public hearing blasts housing plan near river

People spoke for three hours against 26 homes

Pitt council pay increases partly in reaction to federal tax changes

Total cost of implementing the recommendations is an increase of $90,110 for council remuneration.

Party bus safety rules now in place

Maple Ridge family can now step back

Letter: ‘Prison system does not work for the taxpayers’

‘Other countries have moved away from such an antiquated and ineffective system.’

BC Ferries to pilot selling beer and wine on select routes

Drinks from select B.C. breweries and VQA wineries to be sold on Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen route

Paddling and pancakes, cleaning Katzie Slough shore

The fourth biannual canoe tour of the Katzie Slough took place on Sunday

Man driving wrong way on Highway 17 ‘seriously’ injured after crash: Surrey RCMP

Police say the driver hit a transport truck, then another car after merging from the off-ramp onto highway

Should B.C. lower speed limits on side roads to 30 km/h?

Vancouver city councillor wants to decrease speed limits along neighbourhood side roads

Lawsuit eyed over union-only raise for B.C. community care workers

‘Low-wage redress’ leaves 17,000 employees out, employers say

Landlord of alleged Okanagan shooter recounts deadly day

Tony Friesen was working in one of the units of his Penticton building when he heard shots

B.C. RCMP arrest foreign national in connection to airport thefts

A woman, 60, is being held in police custody as Richmond RCMP investigate

Police pursue pesky porker on Vancouver Island

‘This was allegedly not the pig’s first escape’

Rare ‘Snow Tower’ tree blooming in Vancouver city park

A plant rarely grown in Canada is now flowering at the Bloedel Conservatory in Queen Elizabeth Park

Westjet tries again to dismiss proposed class-action lawsuit alleging discrimination

Former flight attendant claims airline broke contractual promise to create harassment-free workplace

Most Read