Saudi Arabia was under growing pressure today to explain the disappearance of exiled journalist Jamal Khashoggi as a CCTV image emerged capturing the moment he was last seen alive.
The picture showed the reporter walking into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul a week ago.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo today urged Saudi Arabia to carry out a full investigation amid claims from Turkey that Mr Khashoggi was murdered inside the building by a hit squad from the kingdom.
The surveillance image released by the Washington Post, for which Mr Khashoggi was a columnist, came as it was revealed he told a fellow reporter three days before he vanished that he could never return to Saudi Arabia.
Turkish officials have said they fear the dissident, who went to the consulate to finalise his divorce so that he could marry his Turkish fiancée Hatice Cengiz, was killed there. Saudi Arabia has called the allegations “baseless,” insisting Mr Khashoggi left the building last Tuesday.
Hatice Cengiz (left)
Turkish authorities are also examining motorway cameras in the search for a black van they believe carried the body of Mr Khashoggi from the consulate — one of six vehicles investigators allege belonged to a 15-strong Saudi hit squad.
Officials say the convoy left the consulate around two hours after Mr Khashoggi entered. Flight records show two Saudi planes arrived at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport last Tuesday and departed separately the same day, hours after Mr Khashoggi was last seen.
The journalist has been one of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s most prominent critics. A member of the Saudi elite, he had been in self-imposed exile in the US for much of the past year.
In an informal chat with a BBC reporter, three days before he disappeared, he said: “I don’t think I will be able to go home. When I heard of an arrest of a friend who did nothing, it makes me feel like I shouldn’t go. The people being arrested aren’t even dissidents, they just have an independent mind.”