Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday called on Saudi Arabia to investigate the strange disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, whose case has sparked international outcry over the extent of the kingdom’s crackdown on dissent.
“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.
A Washington Post columnist and prominent newspaper editor in Saudi Arabia, Khashoggi mysteriously vanished last week. He has not been heard from since Oct. 2, when he entered a Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey to receive marriage paperwork.
Allegations have since swirled over the whereabouts of Khashoggi, who is a well-known critic of the Saudi government and lives in exile. Friends and officials have blamed Riyadh for the dissident journalist’s disappearance and alleged murder. Turkish investigators on Saturday concluded Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi consulate, the Post reports.
The Saudi ambassador to Washington, Prince Khalid bin Salman, who is also the brother of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, denies these claims. In a letter sent Monday evening, the prince said it is “absolutely false, and baseless,” to accuse the kingdom of killing or detaining Khashoggi, according to NBC news. The prince emphasized Saudi Arabia is taking “extraordinary” measures to locate Khashoggi, “just as we would if it were any other Saudi citizen.”
“Jamal has many friends in the Kingdom, including myself,” Khalid wrote.
Khashoggi’s sudden disappearance has tested U.S.-Saudi ties. The U.S., where Khashoggi has been living since fleeing the kingdom last year, largely kept silent on the diplomatic imbroglio until Monday, when President Donald Trump said he was “concerned” about the case.