Jamal Khashoggi Disappearance: Saudi Consul Witnessed Murder, Suspect Turkish Officials; 'Hit Sqaud' Members Linked to Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman
A Turkish policeman walks to enter the Saudi Arabia's Consul General's residence in Istanbul (Photo credit: IANS)

Istanbul, October 18: Turkish investigators searched the residence of the Saudi consul in Istanbul as they suspect that he witnessed the alleged killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The consul, Mohammed al-Otaibi, however, denied having any knowledge of what happened to Jamal Khashoggi. Otaibi's name surfaced after he was reportedly heard in purported audio recordings of Khashoggi's death.

Yeni Safak, which is close to the government, has quoted Otaibi as telling alleged Saudi agents sent to Istanbul to kill Khashoggi: "Do this outside. You're going to get me in trouble." Following the revelations, Turkish police search Otaibi's private residence in Istanbul. It was not clear whether the investigators found something that could link the Saudi consul to Khashoggi's disappearance. Missing Saudi Journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s Last Article: What the Arab World Needs Most is Free Expression.

Suspects linked to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

According to a New York Times report, one of the suspects identified by Turkey in the disappearance of Khashoggi was a frequent companion of the kingdom's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Three other suspects were linked to Prince Mohammed's security detail, and a fifth was a forensic doctor. Jamal Khashoggi Case: Is U.S. Willing to Act Tough Against Saudi Arabia or Will It Help Cover Up?

One suspect, Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb travelled extensively with the Crown Prince, perhaps as a bodyguard, the report said. According to the Times, the other three suspects were Abdulaziz Mohammed al-Hawsawi -- a member of the security team that travels with the crown prince; Thaar Ghaleb al-Harbi, and Muhammed Saad Alzahrani.

Two people with the same names -- Al-Harbi and Alzahrani -- were identified as members of the Saudi Royal Guard, the report claimed.

Jamal Khashoggi Disappearance

Khashoggi -- a permanent resident of the US in self-imposed exile who was a fierce critic of the Crown Prince's policies -- has been missing since he entered the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on October 2 for the paperwork needed for his planned marriage. Turkish officials say that the journalist was killed by a special team of 15 Saudi officials sent to Istanbul for the task.