Jamal Khashoggi, a contributor to the Washington Post who has been critical of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has gone missing. Khashoggi’s personal website had a banner on Wednesday that read “Jamal has been arrested at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul!”
Khashoggi’s site had no elaboration on this, but his friends and colleagues have been unable to get in touch with him.
Jamal Khashoggi Missing in Istanbul
Khashoggi is a journalist who often contributes to stories for the Washington Post. His work has consistently been controversial in Saudi Arabia, as he is a vocal critic of Mohammed bin Salman. The Crown Prince is set to succeed his father, King Salman, as the sovereign of Saudi Arabia.
On Tuesday, Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Turkey in order to fill out paperwork. The paperwork in question would allow him to marry his Turkish fiancée. However, before he could enter the consulate he had to leave his cell phone with his fiancée. This is a common security practice in the Middle East, but it made it impossible for Khashoggi’s fiancée to contact him once he was inside.
After waiting until the consulate closed, she said Khashoggi still hadn’t left the building. “I don’t know what’s happening. I don’t know if he’s inside or if they took him somewhere else,” she stated in an interview.
Saudi Arabia and Human Rights
Saudi Arabia has a rough track record with human rights. Recently, the country lifted a ban on female drivers. However, many feminist activists were arrested with no cause given. This was the most recent of many human rights violations brought up by Khashoggi in his columns.
Recently, in a column from August 7th, Khashoggi summed the situation up like this. “Presently, Saudi citizens no longer understand the rationale behind the relentless wave of arrests,” Khashoggi wrote. “These arbitrary arrests are forcing many into silence, and a few others have even quietly left the country.”
He continued, “There is a better way for the kingdom to avoid Western criticism: Simply free human rights activists and stop the unnecessary arrests that have diminished the Saudi image.”