Published: Fri, October 19, 2018
Economy | By

Trump says punishment over missing Saudi journalist must be 'very severe'

Trump says punishment over missing Saudi journalist must be 'very severe'

Turkish reports say Khashoggi, who had written columns critical of the Saudi government for The Washington Post over the past year while he lived in self-imposed exile in the US, was killed and dismembered inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul by members of an assassination squad with ties to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. "It's bad, bad stuff".

Asked if he heard or asked to hear audio of Khashoggi's alleged slaying, he said: "I don't have anything to say about that".

However, authorities have so far only said they are concerned about their missing citizen as they take part in an investigation into his disappearance at the consulate and the Saudi consul's house.

Critics accused the president of being weak and giving the Saudi regime a potential way out if they did sanction the murder of Mr Khashoggi.

The Saudi government has strongly denied having anything to do with the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi. "But we'll see what happens", Trump told reporters when asked what would be the consequences of such an unfortunate incident.

Mr Trump has previously vowed to inflict "severe punishment" on Saudi Arabia if it was behind Mr Khashoggi's killing - but also said he is against cancelling military contracts with Riyadh.

"They will conduct a complete, thorough investigation of all of the facts surrounding Mr. Khashoggi, and that they will do so in a timely fashion", he told reporters. "Sooner's better than later for everyone", Pompeo said.

Although Pompeo suggested the US could wait longer for results, an official familiar with his meetings in Riyadh and Ankara said the secretary had been blunt about the need to wrap the probe up quickly.

"We continue to seek an interview with Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman".

Police officers searched the forest yesterday and collected footage from cameras located in the area, while officers in Yalova's Termal region are said to have been quite busy for the last three days.

Worldwide concern over the case has led to many business and political figures pulling out of an upcoming conference in the Saudi capital, Riyadh. "He warned the crown prince that the kingdom's position on the public stage was at risk and that he needed to own this and take action", Allen explained, adding that the administration's stance was looking "less and less tenable" given mounting evidence that Khashoggi was murdered in gruesome fashion inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. A "farm house or villa" may have been used for the disposal of remains, the official said. Khashoggi went to the consulate seeking documents for his planned marriage to his Turkish fiancee, who was waiting outside, and was never seen again.

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