France's finance minister cancels his Saudi conference trip amid Khashoggi disappearance

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France's finance minister cancels his Saudi conference trip amid Khashoggi disappearance

In Istanbul, forensic teams have been looking for evidence after the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi journalist.

Turkish police on Wednesday began searching the residence of the Saudi consul in Istanbul for their investigation, with forensics experts in white overalls entering the building, an AFP correspondent said.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said earlier that Turkish officials hoped to enter the consulate on Wednesday.

Turkish officials have said they believe Khashoggi was murdered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October, after a hit squad was sent in to murder him and dismember his body.

United States president Donald Trump, who initially came out hard on the Saudis over the disappearance but since has backed off, said on Wednesday that the U.S. wanted Turkey to turn over any audio or video recording it had of Mr Khashoggi's alleged killing "if it exists".

A critic of Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Mr Khashoggi was living in self-imposed exile in the United States and writing opinion pieces for the Washington Post before he vanished.

The account could raise doubt about US President Donald Trump's claim - after Saudi King Salman strongly denied to him any knowledge of what happened - that "rogue killers" might have been responsible for Mr Khashoggi's disappearance. "Do this outside. You will put me in trouble", he reportedly told the team.

"Through the creation of an independent global forum, isolated from the influence of nationalist governments spreading hate through propaganda, ordinary people in the Arab world would be able to address the structural problems their societies face", he added.

She ended her note: "This column perfectly captures his commitment and passion for freedom in the Arab world".

Pro-government Turkish daily Yeni Safak reported it had heard audio recordings of Khashoggi being tortured during an interrogation, having his fingers cut off and then being decapitated.

Riyadh insists that he left the consulate safely.

Sabah's report does not name the man in the CCTV image, but he has been previously identified as Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, a reported bodyguard and regular member of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's entourage.

The New York Times said it confirmed that at least nine of the 15 worked for the Saudi security services, military or other government ministries.

Khashoggi in the past said he always considered himself a patriot, viewing his criticism of the Saudi government as a sign of his love for Saudi Arabia and a desire for conditions there to improve. "We'll find out, we'll get down to the bottom of it", Trump said of the Saudi investigation.

Earlier this week, former foreign secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind called for Britain to impose sanctions against Saudi Arabia following the disappearance of a Saudi journalist.

The newspaper said it gathered more information about the suspects through facial recognition software, a database of Saudi cellphone numbers, leaked Saudi government documents, witnesses and media.

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