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Saudis vow to retaliate against 'credible' Khashoggi probe


Saudi Arabia warns it will retaliate against any sanctions over the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, as Britain, France and Germany demand an investigation.

Saudi Arabia has warned against threats to punish it over the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last week, saying it would retaliate against any sanctions with tougher measures, as international criticism increased.

Khashoggi, a US resident and Washington Post columnist critical of Saudi Arabia, disappeared on October 2 after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Turkey's government believes he was murdered inside the building and his body removed. Saudi Arabia has denied that.

Veteran Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi disappeared over a week ago while on a visit to the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul
Veteran Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi disappeared over a week ago while on a visit to the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

"The Kingdom affirms its total rejection of any threats and attempts to undermine it, whether by threatening to impose economic sanctions, using political pressures, or repeating false accusations..." the official Saudi Press Agency quoted an unnamed government source as saying.

"The Kingdom also affirms that if it receives any action, it will respond with greater action, and that the Kingdom's economy has an influential and vital role in the global economy," the source added, without elaborating.

Britain, France and Germany told Saudi Arabia they were treating the case with "the utmost seriousness".


"There needs to be a credible investigation to establish the truth about what happened, and - if relevant - to identify those bearing responsibility for the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, and ensure that they are held to account," the foreign ministers from the three countries said in a joint statement.

"We encourage joint Saudi-Turkish efforts in that regard, and expect the Saudi government to provide a complete and detailed response. We have conveyed this message directly to the Saudi authorities."

The statement, by British Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt, France's Jean-Yves Le Drian and Germany's Heiko Maas, made no mention of potential actions the countries might take.

The Saudi stock market lost $US33 billion of its value on Sunday amid investor worries about deteriorating international relations, one of the first signs of the economic pain that Riyadh could suffer over the affair.

Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi holds a photo of the missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashogg.
Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi holds a photo of the missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashogg.

US senators have triggered a provision of the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act requiring the president to determine whether a foreign person is responsible for a gross human rights violation. The act has in the past imposed visa bans and asset freezes on Russian officials.

Anti-Saudi sentiment in the US Congress could conceivably raise pressure to pass the so-called No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act, which would end sovereign immunity shielding OPEC members from US legal action.

Fiancé describes Jamal Khashoggi as 'lonely patriot'

Hatice Cengiz has described the last moments she spent with her fiancé, Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, before he disappeared almost two weeks ago. 

Writing in the New York Times, Ms Cengiz said her fiancé did not express any fears about going to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to sort out some paperwork ahead of their wedding. 

“When we arrived at the consulate, he went right in,” she said.  

“Had I known it would be the last time I would see Jamal, I would have rather entered the Saudi consulate myself.

"The rest is history: He never walked out of that building. And with him, I also got lost there.”

Missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi's Turkish fiancee Hatice and her friends wait in front of the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul.
Missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi's Turkish fiancee Hatice waited outside the Saudi consulate but says he never came out.

Ms Cengiz, a doctoral student in Istanbul, said she was still hoping Khashoggi was alive.

"Today is Jamal's birthday. I had planned a party... we would have been married now.

"If he is dead, and I hope that is not the case, thousands of Jamals will be born today...

"His voice and his ideas will reverberate, from Turkey to Saudi Arabia, and across the world.

"Oppression never lasts forever.

"Tyrants eventually pay for their sins."

The obituary-style piece follows an opinion piece Ms Cengiz wrote for the Washington Post last week, calling on US President Donald Trump to investigate his disappearance.

Turkish authorities believe a 15-man hit squad flew into Istanbul, murdered Khashoggi and flew his dismembered body out of the country. 

Saudi leaders have dismissed the allegations as baseless. 

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