UN wants Turkey, Saudi Arabia to investigate disappearance of Washington Post columnist

UN wants Turkey, Saudi Arabia to investigate disappearance of Washington Post columnist
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The United Nations (U.N.) on Tuesday called on Turkey and Saudi Arabia to investigate the disappearance of prominent Saudi Arabian journalist and U.S. resident Jamal Khashoggi.

“Yes, this is of serious concern, the apparent enforced disappearance of Mr. Khashoggi from the Saudi consulate in Istanbul,” U.N. human rights spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani said at a Geneva news briefing, according to Reuters.

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“If reports of his death and the extraordinary circumstances leading up to it are confirmed, this is truly shocking,” she added.

Khashoggi, an opinion writer for The Washington Post, was known for his critical views on Riyadh. He had recently left his country, citing concerns over Saudi Arabia's crackdown on free speech.

Last week, he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, where he intended to obtain a document necessary to marry his fiancee. He reportedly never left, and Turkish sources later told Reuters that he had been killed inside the consulate.

Saudi Arabia has claimed that Khashoggi did indeed leave the consulate, a claim that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Monday asked Riyadh to prove. 

Members of the Trump administration and Republicans on Capitol Hill have expressed deep concern over the incident. 

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoUS, Sudan to exchange ambassadors for first time in decades Iran expert: Trump's foreign policy approach aimed at instigating 'unrest' Fox's Napolitano says obstruction 'easiest' impeachment offense for Democrats MORE also called for Saudi Arabia to back a “thorough investigation” into Khashoggi’s disappearance.

“We call on the government of Saudi Arabia to support a thorough investigation of Mr. Khashoggi's disappearance and to be transparent about the results of that investigation,” Pompeo said in a statement. 

President TrumpDonald John TrumpStates slashed 4,400 environmental agency jobs in past decade: study Biden hammers Trump over video of world leaders mocking him Iran building hidden arsenal of short-range ballistic missiles in Iraq: report MORE has also expressed concern over the incident. Khashoggi is a U.S. resident.

“I am concerned about that,” Trump told reporters Monday. “I don't like hearing about it and hopefully that will sort itself out. Right now, nobody knows anything about it.” 

Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerRNC says ex-Trump ambassador nominee's efforts 'to link future contributions to an official action' were 'inappropriate' Lindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Nareit — White House cheers Republicans for storming impeachment hearing MORE (R-Tenn.), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Monday he brought up concerns surrounding Khashoggi’s fate with the Saudi ambassador to the U.S.

“Our thoughts are with #JamalKhashoggi’s family and colleagues at the @washingtonpost. I have raised Jamal's disappearance personally with the Saudi ambassador, and while we await more information, know we will respond accordingly to any state that targets journalists abroad,” he tweeted.

Saudi Arabia is one of Washington’s closest allies in the Middle East, and some Republicans have questioned if the incident could strain the two countries’ ties. 

“We agree if there was any truth to the allegations of wrongdoing by the Saudi government it would be devastating to the US-Saudi relationship and there will be a heavy price to be paid — economically and otherwise … Our country’s values should be and must be a cornerstone of our foreign policy with foes and allies alike,” Trump ally Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamTrump's legal team huddles with Senate Republicans GOP member urges Graham to subpoena Schiff, Biden phone records Trump legal team gears up for Senate impeachment trial in meeting with GOP senators MORE (R-S.C.) tweeted Monday.