Beirut, October 3, 2018–The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned about Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist who has been living in self-imposed exile in the U.S. since 2017, and urges Saudi authorities to immediately disclose his whereabouts. Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post and a former editor-in-chief of the Saudi newspaper Al-Watan who writes critically about Saudi Arabia and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, entered the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul yesterday to complete paperwork and failed to emerge after the consulate officially closed, according to Reuters and The Washington Post.
Reuters reported today that Khashoggi is in the consulate, citing two Turkish officials. In response to a request for comment from Reuters, the consulate said “it would respond if there was any comment to make,” according to the news agency. The Saudi embassy in Washington, D.C., did not immediately respond to CPJ’s request for comment today.
“Saudi authorities must immediately verify the whereabouts of Jamal Khashoggi,” CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour said from New York. “Given the Saudi authorities’ pattern of quietly detaining critical journalists, Khashoggi’s failure to emerge from the Saudi consulate on the day he entered is a cause for alarm.”
Saudi Arabia’s repression of journalists has intensified since Crown Prince Salman rose to power as the apparent heir to the king last year. CPJ recently documented a steadily increasing number of bloggers and journalists detained in unknown locations without charges since the start of what Saudi authorities term an anti-corruption campaign in September 2017.