His fiancee waited for him outside the consulate for 11 hours, but there was no sign of Khashoggi leaving, and he has not been seen or heard by anyone since. Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi regime who had been living in self-imposed exile in America, had gone to the embassy to collect a document certifying that he was divorced, in order to marry his Turkish fiancee.
Sputnik has discussed the issue with Kamel Hawwash, academic and writer on Middle Eastern affairs — whom he met a week ago.
Sputnik: When you met Khashoggi a week ago did he seem afraid for his life?
And even in that, although he criticized the stance of the Saudis on what is called 'the deal of the century' he reported to the conference that the Saudi King had effectively taken back control of the issue related to Palestine and particularly about Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state.
And he advised the Palestinians to take hold of their own fate, but of course they would be supported by other countries.
Sputnik: Does Khashoggi really pose such a threat to the Saudi regime?
I think it was the fear that if he did had remained in the Kingdom he would either have to choose to be completely silent or if he did speak out he would face some danger.
Sputnik: If the reports are correct, and it was a state authorized killing, which would the Saudis want to risk further damaging relations with Turkey by carrying it in Turkey?
Kamel Hawwash: To be missing for a week having entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul having left 20 minutes later (according to the Saudis) raises lots of questions and people look back on a number of incidents when Saudi dissidents —fully fledged dissidents — have been arrested and taken back from different countries.
So we have to be careful about whether the man is alive or not but clearly until the Saudis themselves present evidence that he left in embassy in one piece, suspicions will continue to be that a week afterwards that something must have befallen the man otherwise why hasn't he spoken out or been seen anywhere?
Sputnik: Is it time for Saudi Arabia to be held to account for its human rights abuses; should the ICC get involved?
And that would be much more immediate in my view than taking something to the ICC which would take quite a long time to materialize. So I do think that…But we know that whether it's the United States or the United kingdom or other countries who have been continuing to sell weapons to the Saudis despite clear atrocities which have been committed — including for example a bus in which 50 children were killed by a bombing — but there have been, they have not taken the right action in terms of saying 'we will stop supplying arms to Saudi Arabia because of this'. So the chances of them doing something for one individual — unfortunately there don't seem to be strong chances that they will.
Views and opinions expressed in this article are those of Kamel Hawwash and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.