Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for October 20, 2018

Newsline: Turkey vows to reveal ‘truth’ on Saudi critic’s death in consulate

Turkey has vowed to reveal all details about the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, after Saudi Arabia admitted for the first time he had been killed in its consulate in Istanbul. “Turkey will never allow a cover-up,” a ruling party spokesperson said. Saudi Arabia suggested on Friday Mr Khashoggi, a prominent Saudi critic, had died in a “fist fight”. Turkish officials previously said he had been deliberately killed inside the consulate, and his body dismembered. Earlier this week, unnamed Turkish officials told media outlets they had audio and visual evidence to prove this. Turkish police and prosecutors have been searching the consulate as well as the consul’s residence this week for evidence of what unfolded. On Friday they widened their search to a nearby forest, where unnamed officials believe his body may have been disposed of. The kingdom says a fight broke out between Mr Khashoggi, who had fallen out of favour with the Saudi government, and people who met him in the consulate – ending with his death. It says investigations are under way, and so far 18 Saudi nationals have been arrested. Unnamed officials speaking to Reuters news agency and the New York Times say the Saudis did not know the whereabouts of the body after it was handed to a “local collaborator” to dispose of. In addition to the arrests, two senior officials have been sacked over the affair – deputy intelligence chief Ahmad al-Assiri and Saud al-Qahtani, senior aide to Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. Turkish media said earlier this week they had identified a 15-member team of suspected Saudi agents who flew into and out of Istanbul on the day of the disappearance. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke to Saudi King Salman on Friday evening, and the two agreed to continue co-operating in the investigation.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-45926754

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Newsline: Assange Sues Ecuador Over Conditions to Remain in London Embassy

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is suing Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Jose Valencia over new rules of conduct imposed as a condition for him to remain at the country’s embassy in London, according to his lawyer. The rules violate Assange’s constitutional rights and need to be clarified by Ecuador’s courts, Baltasar Garzon, a former Spanish judge, told reporters in Quito on Friday. Failure to accept them could lead to his expulsion from the embassy. The WikiLeaks founder sought the protection of Ecuador in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faced rape allegations, or the U.S., where he could be punished for publishing secret government documents. Among the conditions imposed by the Ecuadorian government, the embassy would decide who could visit Assange and when, while restricting his ability to comment on political issues. It also orders him to take proper care of his cat or risk having it handed to a shelter.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-10-19/assange-sues-ecuador-foreign-minister-over-asylum-protocol