A Washington Post columnist who went missing after visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul was spirited out of Turkey in a private jet and held captive in the kingdom where he may still be alive, a source close to its royal family has claimed to DailyMail.com.
Jamal Khashoggi, a long-standing critic of Saudi Arabia and for the last year a columnist in the Post, has been at the center of international concern that he has been murdered after walking into the consulate in Turkey’s largest city and vanishing.
The Turkish government is demanding access to the diplomatic facility to search it after allegations that Khashoggi had been chopped up inside the building and his body parts sent to Saudi in boxes, rocked Middle East relations.
Khashoggi had gone to the embassy to collect divorce papers relating to his previous marriage, leaving his fiancee with his phone on the street outside.
DailyMail.com has obtained a grab of CCTV footage showing him walking in – he never walked back out.
Now a source close to the Saudi royals has told DailyMail.com that an alternative version of events is being discussed inside high levels of the Saudi government.
The source said that after entering the embassy Khashoggi was taken in a black Mercedes S-500 and a white minivan with four Saudi officials to Istanbul airport, where he was flown on a private jet to Dubai and then Riyadh, where he is now being held.
Flight records show that a Gulf Stream IV private jet, tail number HZ-SK2, landed in Istanbul at 3am on October 2, the day Khashoggi disappeared.
The jet left later that day, stopping in Dubai and then flying on to Riyadh. Khashoggi was driven from there to Riyadh, and was held there, the source said.
The source was told Khashoggi is still alive, contradicting the claims he was murdered in the Istanbul embassy.
The different version of events cannot be independently verified.
A friend of the columnist also revealed that Khashoggi’s encrypted messages had been read after he vanished.
Though Khashoggi gave his Saudi phone to his fiancée before entering the embassy in Istanbul, he walked in to the building with his T-Mobile US cell phone, which he had used to contact his confidential sources.
Embassy officials took the phone and handed it to Saudi intelligence officials, the source said.
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Source: Daily Mail