Developments since Saudi journalist's disappearance: A timeline

AFP Istanbul, Turkey Oct 19, 2018, 11.27 PM(IST)

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Yemeni Tawakkol Karman holds up a picture of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Photograph:( AFP )

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Jamal Khashoggi, a US resident has not been seen since he entered the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

Here is a timeline of events in the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a US resident who has not been seen since he entered the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

Disappearance

At around 1:15 pm (1015 GMT) on October 2, Washington Post contributor Khashoggi is recorded entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul by a surveillance camera. The image is published by the Washington Post.

He was at the consulate to receive an official document for his upcoming marriage. His Turkish fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, waits outside.

On October 3, the Washington Post raises the alarm, saying he has not been seen since he entered the consulate.

His fiancee camps out near barricades in front of the consulate hoping for news.

Turkey insists the journalist is still at the consulate while the US State Department says it is investigating.

On October 4, after an initial period of silence, Riyadh says Khashoggi disappeared "after he left the consulate building".

On October 5, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman tells Bloomberg that Khashoggi is not inside the consulate and "we are ready to welcome the Turkish government to go and search our premises", which is Saudi sovereign territory.

'Murdered'

On October 6, a government source says Turkish police believe Khashoggi was murdered inside the consulate.

"Based on their initial findings, the police believe that the journalist was killed by a team especially sent to Istanbul and who left the same day," the source says.

Riyadh calls the claim "baseless".

On October 8, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan asks Riyadh to "prove" that Khashoggi left its consulate and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo calls for a "thorough" and "transparent" probe by Saudi Arabia.

CCTV footage released by Turkish TV shows a van entering the consulate on October 2, before going to the nearby consul's residence.

According to The Washington Post, Turkey has recordings made from inside the building that allegedly prove their claims Khashoggi was tortured and killed at the consulate.

On October 15, Trump says he received a strong denial from King Salman of any involvement in the disappearance and that "rogue killers" could be involved.

Visiting Riyadh, Pompeo says Saudi Arabia promised to ensure a thorough probe from which no one will be exempt.

Trump says innocence must be presumed.

'Severe' response

On October 17, Turkish pro-government daily Yeni Safak reports that Khashoggi was tortured before being decapitated inside the consulate, saying it had heard audio recordings of the incident.

The New York Times says a suspect identified by Turkey in the disappearance was in Crown Prince Mohammed's inner circle. Three other suspects are linked to his security detail.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin adds his name to the stream of big name cancellations, saying on October 18 he will not attend the Future Investment Initiative conference. 

Four prominent human rights and press freedom groups urge Turkey to demand a United Nations investigation.

Trump for the first time says he now believes Khashoggi is dead and warns of "very severe" consequences should Saudi Arabia be proven responsible.

Washington nevertheless says it will give Riyadh "a few more days" to explain the disappearance.

On October 19, local media reports that Turkish investigators have searched a forest in Istanbul as the probe into the disappearance widens.

Days earlier investigators also searched the consulate and the residence of the consul.

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that Turkish staff members of the consulate have testified to prosecutors in the probe.