UN investigator seeks access to Saudi consulate in Istanbul over Khashoggi murder

A United Nations special rapporteur leading an international inquiry into the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi requested access to Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul, and to visit the kingdom, Al Jazeera reported on Sunday.

Following the Turkish government's invitation, United Nation special rapporteur on executions, Agnes Callamard, have not received a reply from Saudi authorities about her request, Al Jazeera said.

"I have requested access to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and a meeting with the ambassador of the Kingdom of Saud Arabia in Turkey," the website quoted Callamard as saying. "I have also sought permission to conduct a similar country-visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia," she added.

Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and critic of the Saudi royal family, was last seen entering the consulate on Oct. 2. Turkish officials, declining to be identified, have told various news outlets that a team of Saudi agents working under the orders of the royal family murdered and dismembered him before transporting the body out of the country.

Turkey released a series of leaks following the murder that appeared to reveal a team of 15 Saudi agents had executed the killing. 

The Saudi authorities arrested 18 Saudis related to Khashoggi’s murder and five top Saudi officials were fired, including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s adviser. 

Turkey demands from Saudi Arabia to extradite suspects connected to the murder of Khashoggi, saying the journalist had been killed on Turkish soil. The Saudi authorities have repeatedly declined Ankara’s requests. 

The murder of Khashoggi has sparked a diplomatic crisis between Saudi Arabia and Turkey, which is also known for its imprisonment of journalists and its kidnapping of dissidents.

Relations between Turkey and Saudi Arabia have deteriorated over the past year after Erdoğan sided with Qatar in its dispute with Saudi-led Gulf states. Khashoggi’s disappearance has also sparked anger among U.S. lawmakers and other officials.