Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi journalist who disappeared last week after a visit to his country's consulate in Turkey, was once a Saudi insider. A close aide to the kingdom's former spy chief, he had been a leading voice in the country's prominent dailies, including the main English newspapers.
Now the 59-year-old journalist and contributor to The Washington Post is feared dead and Turkish authorities believe he was slain inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, something Saudi officials vehemently deny.
He interviewed Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan before al-Qaida was formed, then met him in Sudan in 1995. Following bin Laden's rise likely helped cement Khashoggi's ties with powerful former Saudi spy chief, Turki Al-Faisal.
Eight days later, on Oct. 2, he disappeared while on a visit to the consulate in Istanbul for paperwork to marry his Turkish fiancée. The consulate insists the writer left its premises alive, contradicting Turkish officials.
Before his disappearance, Khoshaggi had been living since last year in the U.S. in self-imposed exile, after he fled the kingdom amid a crackdown on intellectuals and activists who criticized policies of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.
"As of now, I would say Mohammed bin Salman is acting like Putin. He is imposing very selective justice," Khashoggi wrote in the Post last year after he fled the kingdom, saying he feared returning home.
He described "dramatic" scenes of arrest of government critics accused of receiving Qatari funding. They included a friend of Khashoggi's who had just returned from a trip to the U.S. as part of an official Saudi delegation.
"That is how breathtakingly fast you can fall out of favor with Saudi Arabia," he wrote.
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INTERNATIONAL CENTER FOR THE PROTECTION AND FREEDOM OF JOURNALISTS