Supporters of missing Saudi journalist rally in Istanbul

Prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi disappeared after visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul four days ago. Riyadh has denied he's being held, and has said Turkish officials are welcome to search the building.

Supporters of a prominent Saudi journalist, who disappeared after visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul four days ago, protested outside the Saudi consulate in the city on Friday, demanding answers about his whereabouts, German broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported.

Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a vocal critic of some of the crown prince's policies toward Qatar and Canada, as well as the Saudi-led intervention in the Yemen conflict, was last seen entering the diplomatic mission in Istanbul on Tuesday.  The 59-year-old, who has been living in self-imposed exile in the United States since 2017, reportedly went to the consulate to collect an official document for his planned marriage; however, never came out again.

 The Turkish-Arab Media Association (TAM) organized a small rally in front of the İstanbul’s Saudi consulate building on Friday, demanding  "his immediate release,’’ Deutsche Welle reported.

"As journalists, we are worried about the fate of Jamal. We don't know whether he is alive or dead," it quoted TAM head, Turan Kislakci, as saying. "The statements by Saudi Arabia on the subject are far from satisfactory."

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, in an interview with Bloomberg, said Khashoggi was not at the consulate while noting that he is prepared to allow Turkish authorities to search the building.

‘’We have nothing to hide," Salman stressed.

Human rights groups such as Human Rights Watch, the burden of proof is on Saudi Arabia to produce evidence for its claim that Khashoggi left the consulate alone, and has not been detained by Saudi agents.

Saudi Arabia is a few placed behind Turkey in the Reporters Without Borders 2018 World Press Freedom Index, ranking 169th out of 180 countries.