October 12, 2018 4:02 pm
Updated: October 12, 2018 4:12 pm

Why the case of a missing journalist is prompting international backlash against Saudi Arabia

WATCH: Trudeau comments on Saudi journalist's disappearance, says keeping armoured vehicle contract


The mysterious disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, a journalist and vocal critic of Saudi Arabia, has prompted international calls for the country to provide answers on exactly what happened.

But days after Khashoggi’s Oct. 2 disappearance, several questions remain on his whereabouts amid reports that he has been killed.

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READ MORE: Canada still selling armoured vehicles to Saudis despite ‘concern’ of missing journalist

Here is what we know — and don’t know — about the case. 

Who is Jamal Khashoggi?

Jamal Khashoggi is a well-known Saudi journalist, who was also a columnist for The Washington Post.

According to BBC News, Khashoggi is a former adviser to top Saudi officials but had a falling out with them. Since then, he has been in “self-imposed” exile and living in the United States.

In previous columns for The Washington Post, the writer has been sharply critical of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and once said he was fearful of facing arrest or backlash for it.

WATCH: Saudi journalist disappears after entering consulate in Turkey

What we know about his disappearance

Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 to get documents for his forthcoming marriage. While Saudi officials say he left shortly afterward, Turkish officials and his fiancee — who was waiting outside — said he never came out.

His fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, said that she waited more than 10 hours.

Turkish officials say they fear Saudi Arabia killed and dismembered Khashoggi.

READ MORE: Turkey says it has proof Saudi journalist was killed, dismembered

But they have offered no evidence beyond video footage of the journalist entering the consulate and the arrival in the country of what they describe as a 15-member Saudi team that allegedly targeted him. Saudi Arabia has denied the allegation as “baseless.”

President Tayyip Erdogan has said that Turkey will not remain silent over Khashoggi’s disappearance and called on officials at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to prove he had left the building.

A delegation from Saudi Arabia arrived in Turkey on Friday as part of a joint investigation into the disappearance.

WATCH: Security footage captures last time Saudi journalist seen entering embassy

How had Donald Trump reacted?

U.S. President Donald Trump has faced increasing pressure from lawmakers to take action on the disappearance.

On Thursday, he told reporters the U.S. is being “very tough” as it looks into the Khashoggi case.

“If it turns out to be as bad as it might be, there are certainly other ways of handling this situation,” Trump said, noting that the country’s Saudi arms will still go forward.

“I don’t like stopping massive amounts of money that’s been pouring into our country. They are spending US$110 billion on military equipment,” Trump said.

WATCH: Trump says missing Saudi journalist a terrible thing ‘assuming it happened’

Journalism industry calls for action

Journalists and news outlets have also been outspoken in calling for action to be taken in the case.

Several media organizations have opted out of a high-profile investment summit scheduled to take place in the country this month. The Financial Times, Bloomberg, CNN and CNBC have all withdrawn as media sponsors, according to The Guardian. The Future Investment Initiative (FII) summit relies heavily on journalists to moderate panels.

Prominent individuals in the industry, such as former HuffPost editor-in-chief Arianna Huffington and LA Times owner Patrick Soon-Shiong, have also said they will not be attending.

Business fallout hits Saudi Arabia

The summit was also meant to attract some of the world’s top business executives.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, Viacom Inc. CEO Bob Bakish and billionaire Steve Case, one of the founders of AOL, are all skipping the event.

World Bank president Jim Yong Kim, who was to speak at the summit, also will not attend but blamed a scheduling conflict.

British billionaire Richard Branson said his Virgin Group would suspend discussions with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund over a planned $1-billion investment in the group’s space ventures.

However, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Friday he will still be attending the event.

“I am planning on going at this point. If more information comes out and changes, we can look at that, but I am planning on going,” Mnuchin said in an interview with CNBC.

WATCH: Colleagues of missing Saudi journalist call for investigation into disappearance

Reaction from Canada

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday that Canada is still selling armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia, despite the Khashoggi case.

“This particular case is of course of concern and we join with our allies around the world in expressing serious issues with these reports. Obviously, there’s a lot more to uncover on what happened here,” Trudeau said.

READ MORE: As Saudi-Canada feud escalates, here’s how axing armoured vehicle deal could hurt Trudeau in 2019

Recently, there has been a deepening diplomatic dispute between Canada and the Saudis, which started in August when Global Affairs Canada called for the “immediate release” of women’s rights activists Samar Badawi and Nassima al-Sadah.

— With files from Global News reporter Katie Dangerfield, Reuters and The Associated Press

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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