Man linked to Saudi prince at consulate when writer vanished

0
803

<p

<pA member of Saudi Crown PrinceFrance and Spain<pSaudi 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 over Mutreb's identification. The AP could not immediately reach Mutreb for comment.

<pBut Mutreb's appearance at the consulate, as well as later at the consul general's residence, adds to the growing pressure on Saudi Arabia amid international outrage over the disappearance of the writer, whom Turkish officials say was killed and dismembered.

<pIn a further sign of that pressure, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he will not attend an investment conference in Saudi Arabia, as did senior government officials from France, Britain and the Netherlands. Several top business executives have also canceled plans to attend, as has the head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde.

<pPresident Donald Trump<pAnalysts say that as long as the Saudis refuse to acknowledge what happened to Khashoggi, the leaks about the case will probably continue.

<p"Turkey wants to show to the world that it cannot be ignoble, selling values and principles in political deals with U.S. or Saudi to try to bury the truth and come up with an acceptable scenario," said Yusuf Katipoglu, a Turkish analyst.

<pThe pro-government Sabah newspaper on Thursday first published the images of Mutreb, showing him 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.

<pA 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.

<pPreviously leaked surveillance footage showed consular vehicles moving from the consulate to the consul general's official residence, some 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) away, a little under two hours after Khashoggi walked inside. The Sabah-published pictured showed an image of the Mutreb at 4:53 p.m. at the consul's home, then at 5:15 p.m. checking out of a hotel. He later cleared an airport security check at 5:58 p.m. before flying out of Istanbul.

<pMutreb's name matches that of a first secretary who once served as a diplomat at the Saudi Embassy in London, according to a 2007 list compiled by the British Foreign Office. The same name also appears in an email published by WikiLeaks<pMeanwhile, the Committee to Protect Journalists, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and Reporters Without Borders jointly called for a U.N. investigation of the Khashoggi disappearance.

<p"If the government of Saudi Arabia is not involved in Jamal Khashoggi's fate, it has the most to gain in seeing an impartial U.N. investigation determine what happened," said Sherine Tadros of Amnesty International. "Without a credible U.N. inquiry, there will always be a cloud of suspicion hanging over Saudi Arabia, no matter what its leadership says to explain away how Khashoggi vanished."

<pThe Post published Thursday what it described as Khashoggi's last column, in which he pointed to the muted international response to ongoing abuses against journalists by governments in the Middle East.

<p"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."

<p———

<pFraser reported from Ankara, Turkey. Gambrell reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates.