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Witness to history

This question must be answered: Where is Khashoggi’s body and who ordered his murder?

Saudi Arabia 2018: If he could be killed by his country, Saudi Arabia, and if the killers could get away with his murder – then no one is safe. Borzou Daragahi reports

Wednesday 01 January 2020 14:45 GMT
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A demonstrator dressed as the crown prince with blood on his hands outside the Saudi embassy
A demonstrator dressed as the crown prince with blood on his hands outside the Saudi embassy (Getty)

How does someone like that just disappear? That was the first thought that struck us when the news arrived at the international desk of The Independent in London late on 2 October 2018. I had never met Jamal Khashoggi. But I had spoken to him repeatedly on the phone over the years, read his articles in the Washington Post, and seen him occasionally on television. He was a fairly big deal, and it was stunning that he could just disappear off the face of the planet.

I was spending the week in our London offices, having flown from Istanbul a couple days earlier. The following day, I reported and wrote a story about Khashoggi. It began: “A prominent Saudi journalist and harsh critic of his country’s ambitious young Crown Prince entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Tuesday to sort out some paperwork. Then he vanished.

A couple of days later came another story, as the Washington Post sounded the alarm about their columnist’s disappearance. Little did I know then they would be the first of many articles, columns and videos we would write and record about Khashoggi, and his alleged tormentors, including Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. It was a case that would consume our attention for months, and continues to haunt the worlds of journalism and geopolitics, making his disappearance that day and the subsequent fallout one of the biggest stories of the decade.

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