Published 8:23 PM EDT Oct 17, 2018
WASHINGTON - The Washington Post has published the last column by Jamal Khashoggi, written by the journalist shortly before he went missing.
The column, titled "What the Arab world needs most is free expression," focuses on the need for a free press in the Middle East and that many Arabs live in a state of misinformation.
Khashoggi talked about how freedom of the press has been under attack and generally isn't taken seriously by the international community and as a result reporters were being silenced.
"These actions no longer carry the consequence of a backlash from the international community," Khashoggi wrote. "Instead, these actions may trigger condemnation quickly followed by silence. As a result, Arab governments have been given free rein to continue silencing the media at an increasing rate."
Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist who wrote critically of the kingdom and royal family for The Washington Post, has been missing since entering the Saudi consulate in Turkey on Oct. 2.
For the past two weeks, Turkish security officials have claimed in various leaks to state-run media and some U.S. outlets that they have audio and video evidence indicating Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate.
At the top of the piece, Global Opinions editor Karen Attiah left a note describing her reluctance to publish the piece, hoping Khashoggi would "come back to us" so they could edit it together. But, Attiah said, she now accepts Khashoggi is gone.
"This is the last piece of his I will edit for The Post. This column perfectly captures his commitment and passion for freedom in the Arab world," she wrote. "A freedom he apparently gave his life for. I will be forever grateful he chose The Post as his final journalistic home one year ago and gave us the chance to work together."
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Police investigators searching the consulate on Tuesday also said, without elaborating, that they found evidence Khashoggi was killed there. Saudi Arabia’s leadership has denied the allegations, and Saudi officials have not responded to repeated requests for comment.
The column, posted online Wednesday and running in print in a special opinions section on Thursday, comes amid new disturbing details of his alleged murder.
The pro-government Turkish newspaper Yeni Safak published a lurid account of what it said was Khashoggi’s slaying. The newspaper said it reviewed an audio recording of Khashoggi’s murder in which Saudi Consul General Mohammed al-Otaibi could be heard telling those allegedly torturing Khashoggi: “Do this outside; you’re going to get me in trouble.” One of the torturers replied: “Shut up if you want to live when you return to (Saudi) Arabia,” according to the report.
The newspaper said Khashoggi was tortured and then dismembered while still alive. The Saudi who cut Khashoggi’s body up was advised to put on earphones and listen to music, according to the newspaper, which cited government security sources. The execution lasted seven minutes, the newspaper said.
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The slaying has put a focus on relations between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia and an arms deal that President Donald Trump says is worth $110 billion. On Wednesday, the Trump administration said it would give the Saudi government more time to complete its investigation.
"It’s reasonable to give them a handful of days more to complete it so they get it right," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters as he prepared to return to Washington from a series of hastily arranged meetings in Saudi Arabia and Turkey to confront the grow
Trump also appeared to give the Saudis the benefit of the doubt amid rising global condemnation. He told Fox Business Network on Wednesday that he would not rupture America’s long-standing alliance with Saudi Arabia despite mounting international and domestic pressure.
“We’re not going to walk away from Saudi Arabia,” Trump said. “I don’t want to do that.”
Contributing: Kim Hjelmgaard, Deirde Shesgreen and David Jackson