October 15, 2018 4:17 pm
Updated: October 15, 2018 8:23 pm

Canada ‘troubled’ by disappearance of Saudi journalist as reports of grisly details continue

On Monday, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said Canada is taking the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Kashoggi "very seriously", but said "it's important to establish clear facts about what has happened."

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As horrific new reports continue to emerge in the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi nearly two weeks ago, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland says the government wants to see an investigation into who might be responsible.

But she did not indicate whether Canada suspects Saudi involvement.

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Speaking with reporters after question period on Monday, Freeland said she spoke earlier in the day with the Saudi foreign minister to express Canada’s concern about the disappearance of the journalist, who was critical of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

READ MORE: Turkey, Saudi Arabia plan joint ‘inspection’ at consulate over missing journalist

“Canada remains very troubled by the disappearance,” she said.

“Canada calls for a thorough, credible and transparent investigation into the serious allegations into Mr. Khashoggi’s disappearance.”

WATCH BELOW: Turkey says it has recordings of Jamal Khashoggi’s murder

Khashoggi, who was a U.S. resident but Saudi citizen, was last seen almost two weeks ago when he walked into the Saudi consulate on Oct. 2 in Turkey.

He never came out.

WATCH BELOW: Cleaners appear to enter Saudi consulate ahead of joint ‘inspection’

Turkish officials reportedly obtained video and audio recordings of what they said was his killing.

The officials said they feared Khashoggi was murdered and dismembered by a Saudi hit team.

While the kingdom has denied those assertions, it also has not given any evidence that Khashoggi left the consulate.

WATCH BELOW: Video establishes timeline of Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance

Freeland said she had been in contact with other foreign ministers about the “very serious situation” but did not give any indication of whether the government believes the Saudi authorities were involved.

“Those bearing responsibility for Mr. Khashoggi’s disappearance must be brought to account,” she said.

READ MORE: Is Canada a ‘whipping boy’ for Saudi Arabia? Why the kingdom picked a fight over a tweet

The foreign ministers from the U.K., France and Germany issued a joint statement on Sunday expressing “grave concern” about the disappearance.

Freeland’s name was not on that statement.

But after it went out, she tweeted the link to the statement.

A joint search of the Saudi consulate in Turkey was scheduled to take place Monday.

Both Turkish and Saudi officials were the only ones taking part.

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

Relations between Canada and Saudi Arabia have been tense for months after the kingdom picked a fight over a tweet posted by Freeland in August that expressed concern about the imprisonment of a Saudi women’s rights activist who was among multiple activists targeted by the ruling family.

In retaliation, the kingdom froze business ties, scholarships to students, and airline flights after first expelling the Canadian ambassador from Riyadh and recalling its own from Ottawa.

David Chatterson, former Canadian ambassador to the kingdom, called the move “very brash” and said it was aimed at sending a message to other countries not to criticize the kingdom: in essence, he said Saudi Arabia used the tweet to turn Canada into its “whipping boy.”

Conservatives criticized the government on Monday for tempering its criticism of the Khashoggi disappearance in response to those attacks.

Freeland responded by saying the government would not “take lessons” from the Conservatives on how it broached human rights.

WATCH: Testy times between Canada and Saudi Arabia

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