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by Sharon Rondeau

Photo credit: Wikipedia via GNU, free license

(Oct. 15, 2018) — In light of unanswered questions regarding the disappearance of a Saudi Arabian journalist early this month, President Trump dispatched Secretary of State Michael Pompeo to Riyadh on Monday.

In a press release, State said that “The President has called for a prompt and open investigation into the disappearance of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.”

On October 2, Kashoggi, who had left Saudi Arabia last year due to what he said was censorship by the Saudi government, entered the Saudi embassy in Istanbul to request documents necessary for him to marry his fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, and never re-emerged.

On Monday night, multiple mainstream outlets reported that Saudi Arabia is preparing to tell Pompeo that Khashoggi underwent questioning at the embassy which then went awry, resulting in his death.

Saudi officials had first said that Khashoggi had left the embassy on October 2.

During a Saturday meeting with Pastor Andrew Brunson, who the administration extricated from a potentially lengthy prison term in Turkey after he was accused of participating in a 2016 attempted government coup, Trump suggested that the worst fears as to Khashoggi’s whereabouts might have come to pass.

As of Monday evening, Khashoggi’s Wikipedia page states, “On 15 October, an inspection of the consulate, by both Turkish and Saudi officials, took place. His death has not been confirmed by Turkish or Saudi officials, however, sources have reported to the news media that he died while being interrogated by agents of the Saudi Government.[13]

Saudi Arabia is a repressive regime where until very recently, women could not drive or obtain higher education.  They were, however, permitted to work.  The kingdom is a theocracy governed by members of the House of Saud under Wahhabi Islam.

Khashoggi reportedly was living in the U.S. for the last year while writing columns critical of the Saudi royal family for The Washington Post.  Others who have criticized the government have been jailed and websites containing critical materials blocked. In 2012, blogger Raif Badawi was jailed, where he remains, and reportedly lashed 50 times.  His wife and children escaped to Canada, where they are now citizens, the CBC reported over the summer.

At the same time, Badawi’s sister, who has met Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton, was arrested in Saudi Arabia as a prominent “women’s rights activist.”

Raif Badawi’s wife, Ensaf Haidar, has petitioned Ontario premier Doug Ford to follow the lead of Quebec Province to ban certain Islamic women’s clothing.

Until Monday evening’s reports of Pompeo’s trip and the Saudi government’s emerging narrative, the Saudi royal family had denied any involvement in Khashoggi’s disappearance. After a phone call with King Salman “early Monday,” Trump suggested that “rogue killers” were responsible for the journalist’s demise, The Wall Street Journal reported.







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