UK minister pulls out of Saudi summit

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

It comes amid allegations the country was behind the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Mr Khashoggi has not been seen since entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, where Turkish officials allege he was killed.

Saudi Arabia, which denies the killing, allowed investigators inside overnight.

The Dutch and French finance ministers, as well as several other politicians and business leaders, have also said they are pulling out of the event.

Meanwhile, several high-profile human rights groups have demanded that Turkey ask the UN to investigate the possible killing of Mr Khashoggi.

Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Reporters Without Borders and the Committee to Protect Journalists, said that a “one-sided” investigation by Saudi Arabia was not good enough.

 

It is not clear Mr Khashoggi was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, to pick up paperwork that would allow him to marry his fiancée Hatice Cengiz.

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

Saudi Arabia has denied the claims, and initially insisted Mr Khashoggi had freely left the embassy.

It says reports on Mr Khashoggi’s death are “completely false and baseless” and that it is “open to co-operation” to find out what happened.

The Turkish authorities say they have audio and video evidence of the killing – although these have not been made public.

 

Turkish media with close links to the government have published gruesome details on the alleged audio, saying screams, and the voice of the consul, Mohammed al-Otaibi, could be heard in the recording.

Yeni Safak, which is close to the government, quotes him as telling alleged Saudi agents sent to Istanbul: “Do this outside. You’re going to get me in trouble.”

 

Meanwhile, Turkish media say they have identified a 15-member team of suspected Saudi agents who flew into and out of Istanbul on the day of the disappearance.

However, Saudi Arabia says reports on Mr Khashoggi’s death are “completely false and baseless” and that it is “open to co-operation” to find out what happened.

On Wednesday and Thursday, Turkish investigators spent almost nine hours searching the Saudi consul’s residence, before moving on to the consulate itself about 200m (650ft) away, according to Reuters news agency. -BBC

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