Tue | Nov 20, 2018

Forensics team searches Saudi Consulate over missing writer

Published:Tuesday | October 16, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Turkish police officers arrive at the Saudi Arabia’s Consulate in Istanbul, Monday, October 15. Turkish crime scene investigators dressed in coveralls and gloves entered the consulate on Monday, nearly two weeks after the disappearance and alleged slaying of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi there.

ISTANBUL (AP):

Turkish crime scene investigators dressed in coveralls and gloves entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Monday, nearly two weeks after the disappearance and alleged slaying of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi there.

Police officers carrying files and equipment walked through the heavy metal doors of the consulate after sunset, carrying out an extraordinary search of a diplomatic post that is otherwise considered foreign soil under international law as worldwide concern grows for the missing Washington Post columnist.

The search represents new cooperation between Turkey - which says it fears that Khashoggi was killed and dismembered there - and Saudi Arabia, which maintains that the allegations it faces are "baseless" despite being unable to explain what happened to Khashoggi.

 

EVIDENCE QUERIES

 

However, questions remained over how much evidence the investigators could turn up at a consulate where a cleaning crew entered hours before their arrival.

The Turkish team included a prosecutor, a deputy prosecutor, anti-terror police, and forensic experts, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported. Certain areas of the consulate were to remain off-limits, although officials would be able to inspect surveillance cameras within the post, Turkish media reported.

Turkish officials have wanted to search the consulate for days. Permission for that apparently came after a late Sunday night call between Saudi King Salman and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In statements after the call, both praised the creation of a joint Saudi-Turkish probe about Khashoggi.

The Saudi acceptance came after the kingdom on Sunday threatened retaliation for any sanctions it could face over Khashoggi. The statement did not elaborate, but a Saudi-owned satellite channel later suggested that the world's largest oil exporter could wield that production as a weapon against America.