Saudi Arabia killing: Khashoggi chilling last column released as audio describes torture

Turkish forensic and investigation officers arrive at Saudi Consul's residence for a search

Hours after Khashoggi's arrival and disappearance, Mutreb left the consulate and visited the consul's residence in the evening of that day after which he returned to Saudi Arabia aboard a private jet.

President Trump, who earlier this week dispatched Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Saudi Arabia and Turkey, said he wanted to find out what happened before taking any action against Saudi Arabia, a key USA ally in the Middle East.

In a sorrowful note atop the column, Khashoggi's editor explained why the Post chose to publish the column Wednesday, almost three weeks after his disappearance.

Trump continued to stand by Saudi Arabia but said he is "not giving cover at all" to Riyadh, whom he repeatedly called a close United States ally. "I'm going to allow the process to move forward", he said.

"The Post held off publishing it because we hoped Jamal would come back to us so that he and I could edit it together".

On Wednesday, media reported that the Turkish police had searched the residence of the Saudi consul general in Istanbul as part of the probe into the incident.

Turkish officials believe Mr Khashoggi was killed by a team of Saudi agents inside the consulate, with his body then removed.

Khashoggi, a Saudi national, was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to get paperwork for a marriage to a Turkish fiancée.

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Washington Post late on Tuesday published passport scans of the suspects allegedly involved in the journalist's killing, while another report detailed close links between the suspects and the powerful crown prince accused of ordering the murder. Riyadh denies the claims. But on Wednesday, Trump told reporters: "We've asked for it ... if it exists" - before adding that it "probably does" exist. Khashoggi also covered the Gulf War, and his time as a foreign correspondent quickly propelled him into a successful career as a journalist and editor in Saudi Arabia.

"We all need to know what it was, how it happened and who was responsible and where the evidence leads".

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was at the White House Thursday morning meeting with President Trump on the issue.

After Khashoggi was critical of President Donald Trump and the Saudi government's apparent trust in the United States leader, the royal family barred Khashoggi from writing.

President Donald Trump, who initially came out hard on the Saudis over the disappearance but since has backed off, said Wednesday that the USA wanted Turkey to turn over any audio or video recording it had of Khashoggi's alleged killing "if it exists". He was allegedly killed during an interrogation inside the consulate, media outlets have reported.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and UK International Trade Secretary Liam Fox have pulled out of an investment conference in Saudi Arabia.

TRT World's North America Correspondent Jon Brain is in Washington DC with more on how Khashoggi's disappearance is putting pressure on the Trump administration to take action on Saudi Arabia.

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