U.S. takes Jamal Khashoggi case 'very seriously': Mike Pompeo

Mike Pompeo Meets Turkish President Amid Saudi Journalist's Disappearance

Melted in Acid? Gruesome Allegations About Khashoggi Disappearance, Ties to Crown Prince's Security Team

The Washington Post has published a new column by missing Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi in which he warns that governments in the Middle East "have been given free rein to continue silencing the media at an increasing rate".

In a sorrowful note atop the column, Khashoggi's editor explained why the Post chose to publish the column Wednesday, almost three weeks after his disappearance. "You're going to get me in trouble".

"The Post held off publishing it because we hoped Jamal would come back to us so that he and I could edit it together".

A Saudi team investigating the disappearance of the journalist has also left the residence in Istanbul, a Reuters witness said early on Thursday.

The US president has been on the defensive ever since Khashoggi - a US resident and Washington Post contributor who had criticised Prince Mohammed - vanished on Oct 2 after visiting the Istanbul consulate.

In Turkey on Tuesday, a high-level Turkish official told the AP that police investigators searching the Saudi Consulate had found evidence that Khashoggi was killed there.

Citing Turkish law enforcement sources, Al Jazeera, reported that Saudi intelligence elements had "verbally abused and used profanity to address Khashoggi, in addition to torturing him during the first four minutes after he entered the Saudi consulate."

Saudi leadership has denied any involvement.

Khashoggi's editor said the article "perfectly captures his commitment and passion for freedom in the Arab world". "If it exists we have asked for it", Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. Turkish officials suspect he was killed there by a Saudi assassination team. "We need to be mindful of that as well".

According to the latest reports, the Saudi journalist was assassinated by a squad that included agents tied to Prince Mohammed, a son of King Salman and a linchpin in the trend toward ever-tightening relations with Trump's White House.

The Russian president also said the USA bears some responsibility for what happened to Khashoggi, who had been living in self-imposed exile in Washington, DC, at the time of his disappearance.

The newspaper said Khashoggi's torturers severed his fingers during the interrogation and later beheaded and dismembered him.

Mr Trump has previously vowed to inflict "severe punishment" on Saudi Arabia if it was behind Mr Khashoggi's killing - but also said he is against cancelling military contracts with Riyadh.

The secretary said he chose to withdraw his participation at the conference, dubbed "Davos in the Desert", after a meeting with US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

As a young reporter, he traveled to Afghanistan to interview Osama bin Laden, who at the time was among CIA-backed militants fighting the Soviet Union.

The High Commissioner noted that Saudi Arabia and Turkey were both party to the "UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment".

On Wednesday, German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass called off his scheduled visit to Riyadh and asked Saudi officials to "fully cooperate" in the investigation.

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