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Responding to reports alleging that Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside his country’s consulate in Istanbul, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director Lynn Maalouf said:

“Reports that a team flew in from Saudi Arabia expressly to carry out a ‘planned murder’ in the consulate are cause for extreme alarm after Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance since entering the building on October 2.

“If true, this would be an abysmal new low. Such an assassination within the grounds of the consulate, which is territory under Saudi Arabian jurisdiction, would amount to an extrajudicial execution. This case sends a shockwave among Saudi Arabian human rights defenders and dissidents everywhere, eroding any notion of seeking safe haven abroad.

“The Gulf Kingdom routinely uses draconian laws to crack down on peaceful dissent at home, and has even arrested dissidents abroad in the past. But the enforced disappearance – and now reported assassination – of one of its citizens who had sought asylum abroad should set alarm bells ringing. It suggests the Saudi Arabian authorities are willing to dispense even with their own deeply flawed judicial proceedings in order to punish those who peacefully criticize them.

“The international community’s deafening silence on Saudi Arabia’s crackdown on freedom of expression must end and it must demand an immediate explanation from Saudi Arabia’s authorities about Jamal Khashoggi’s fate or whereabouts. If the reports are true, they must immediately launch an independent investigation and those responsible, however high their rank or status, must face justice.

“The Turkish authorities must urgently disclose the full findings of their investigation, to bring clarity to Jamal Khashoggi’s family and aid the pursuit of justice.”