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Journalist and prominent Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi has been missing for a full week since entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.
Khashoggi’s disappearance has become an international intrigue fueling speculation of a shadowy, political murder.
Saudi Arabia strongly denies Turkish allegations that a special hit team flew in to kill Khashoggi and remove the body.
But analysts and Saudi expats say Khashoggi was likely killed to send a message about the long arm of Saudi’s violent new ruler.

It’s been a full week since journalist and prominent Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. The Saudi-insider-turned-outspoken-critic was last seen by his fiance, Hatice Cengiz, last Tuesday when he went into the consulate reportedly to obtain a legal document for his upcoming wedding.

11 hours later, she began to worry.

Khashoggi hasn’t been seen since, and his disappearance has become an international intrigue fueling speculation of a shadowy, political murder.

It’s unclear what happened to Khashoggi in the consulate. Turkish officials accused Saudi Arabia of killing Khashoggi, and by flying in a 15-person hit team to murder and dismember him and fly his body out in boxes. Saudi officials vehemently denied that he was murdered and say he left the consulate, though no footage or witnesses ever saw him exit.

While the details surrounding Khashoggi’s disappearance begin to emerge, his story is a stark reminder of the Kingdom’s brutal crackdown on dissenters around the world.

Since ascending to power in June 2017, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman has promised to completely overhaul the Saudi economy and society with his Vision2030 plan to modernize the Kingdom. The country has made strides towards rights for Saudi women, invited culture, cinema and art back into its borders, and has pumped money into its Public Investment Fund, which it hopes will help cement its status as a major global trader.

But bold plans for modernization have often veiled the country’s human rights abuses.

In November, Crown Prince Prince Mohammed detained more than 200 people, many of whom were members of the Royal Family as part of what it called an “anti-corruption campaign.” Witnesses spoke of detainees being physically abused and coerced into forfeiting a reported $100 billion reportedly used to fund welfare programs and tackle the country’s mounting debt.

The move was seen as a major power grab by the Crown Prince over those in the Kingdom that could potentially pose a threat to his throne.

The Crown Prince has also arrested several popular religious figures, many with large social media presence, in order to tightly control the Kingdom’s religious messaging and demand loyalty from figures that have influence over the masses.

Not even Saudi Arabia’s borders have contained the Prince’s consolidation of power.

In December, Saudi Arabia appeared to hold Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri against his will while visiting Saudi Arabia, forcing him to announce his resignation on TV in a reported ploy to stoke tensions with rival Iran and …read more

Source:: Business Insider

      

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Prominent Saudi critic’s disappearance sends a stark reminder of the Kingdom’s brutal crackdown on dissent

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