The Latest: Paul to push for halting arms sales to Saudis
ISTANBUL (AP) — The Latest on the mystery surrounding the fate of a Saudi journalist who disappeared while visiting the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul (all times local):
Republican Sen. Rand Paul says he’ll try to force a vote in the Senate this week blocking U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia over the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Paul told local radio in Kentucky he wants to end the arms shipments if there’s “any indication” the Saudis are “implicated in killing this journalist that was critical of them.”
Khashoggi disappeared last week after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul for routine paperwork ahead of his marriage.
The Kentucky Republican, who’s close to President Donald Trump, has long been a critic of the Saudi government.
Paul acknowledges he and Trump differ on their views of Saudi Arabia. “But who knows,” he said, “the president may come around on this if there’s any evidence they killed this journalist.”
A U.N. human rights expert says an investigation into the disappearance of a Saudi journalist in Turkey “should not be politicized,” insisting the case has created a dilemma for the Turkish government.
David Kaye, a U.N. special rapporteur on freedom of expression, said the disappearance of Saudi government critic Jamal Khashoggi “puts basically the Turks in the position of having both to maintain a diplomatic relationship and to deal with a real important, high-profile investigation.”
Kaye spoke to The Associated Press moments after he and two colleagues called for an international, independent investigation into the disappearance of Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Turkish prosecutors are already looking into the case.
If either government seems to be in control of the investigation, Kaye said, “it’s not going to be seen as credible by significant portions of the global community.”
Kaye said he didn’t have “any particular plan” about what the international investigation would look like, but that “multiple models” — such as a U.N.-mandated probe — exist.
Overall, he decried a “global epidemic” of stigmatization of journalists, “whether it’s the United States and Donald Trump calling them ‘the enemy of the people’ or it’s (President) Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines doing much the same thing — where any number of other places journalists are under threat.”
U.N. human rights experts have called for an immediate international investigation into the disappearance of a Saudi journalist who went missing after visiting the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, with one insisting the case “should not be politicized.”
The experts said the “perpetrators and masterminds” who might be responsible for the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, a contributor to the Washington Post who has criticized the Saudi government, “should be identified and brought to justice.”
The independent experts expressed concern that Khashoggi’s criticism of recent Saudi policies might be “directly linked” to his disappearance. The experts are Bernard Duhaime, who researches involuntary disappearances; David Kaye, who specializes in freedom of expression; and Agnes Callamard, who focuses on summary executions.
They are linked to the U.N. human rights office but do not speak for the United Nations.
A senior Turkish official has welcomed Saudi Arabia’s decision to allow authorities to inspect the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul as part of an investigation into the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Numan Kurtulmus, deputy chairman of Turkey’s ruling party, said in an interview with CNN-Turk television Tuesday that he hoped investigators would obtain clues leading to Khashoggi’s whereabouts.
He would not speculate as to what happened to the Saudi journalist but said investigators were assessing all possibilities.
Kurtulmus called the journalist’s disappearance a “dire, grisly and scary event.”
Turkish officials have said Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate after entering it on Oct. 2 and that his body was later taken away, without providing evidence. Saudi officials have adamantly denied the allegations, saying he left the consulate before he went missing, but have offered no evidence that he left the building.
The European Union is adding its weight to international demands for official clarifications about what happened to missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini says the bloc stands side-by-side with the United States in urging authorities to clear up the journalist’s disappearance in Turkey a week ago.
Mogherini was asked on Tuesday by The Associated Press about Khashoggi.
She says: “On this, let me subscribe 100 percent (to) what (U.S.) secretary (of state Mike) Pompeo said just a few hours ago. We are fully aligned with the United States on this, with the U.S. position on this.”
Mogherini added: “We expect a thorough investigation and full transparency from the Saudi authorities on what has happened.”
The U.N. human rights office says the disappearance of a Saudi journalist from the Saudi Consulate in Turkey’s largest city is “of serious concern,” and is urging the two countries to cooperate in investigating it.
Rights office spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani says it would be “truly shocking” if reports of the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi are confirmed.
Shamdasani said during a U.N. briefing on Tuesday in Geneva that the rights office is urging Turkey and Saudi Arabia to cooperate and conduct an “impartial and independent investigation” into Khashoggi’s disappearance in Istanbul, and “to make the findings public.”
She didn’t call for a U.N. or other international investigations.
Turkish prosecutors are already investigating the disappearance of Khashoggi, who has written columns critical of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Turkey’s Foreign Ministry says Turkish authorities will search the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul as part of an investigation into missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The ministry says in a statement released on Tuesday that Saudi authorities have notified Ankara that they were “open to cooperation” and would allow the consulate building to be searched.
The ministry didn’t say when the premises would be searched.
Khashoggi disappeared a week ago after entering the consulate to obtain paperwork required for his marriage to his Turkish fiancee.
Turkish officials have alleged he was killed in the compound while Saudis officials said he left the building unharmed.
8: 20 a.m.
The Washington Post has published an image it described as the last surveillance photograph of its missing Saudi contributor.
The Post’s image showed Jamal Khashoggi walking into the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul a week ago. Khashoggi disappeared immediately afterward.
The image released on Tuesday bore a date and date stamp. The Post said “a person close to the investigation” shared the image with them.
The 59-year-old Khashoggi went missing while on a visit to the consulate in Istanbul for paperwork to marry his Turkish fiancée.
Turkish officials and Khashoggi’s friends have told The Associated Press they fear the writer was killed at the consulate. Saudi Arabia has denied the allegations as “baseless,” but offered no evidence to show he ever left the building.