'Jamal the martyr': Tributes pour out for journalist reportedly killed at Saudi consulate
Tributes and messages of anguish poured out on social media across the world late on Saturday for Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, as reports emerged of his alleged killing.
Khashoggi, who had lived in self-imposed exile from his home country, had gone missing during a visit to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Tuesday.
Speculation swirled about his whereabouts in the days since his disappearance, however on Saturday night Turkish officials cited by Reuters said that the Washington Post contributor had been killed at the consulate.
As the news emerged, friends and associates of Khashoggi, as well as obseervers of the his situation around the world paid tribute to the missing journalist.
An emotional tweet posted by Khashoggi's fiance was also shared on twitter, in which she had expressed hope of seeing her husband just a day before the news of his reported killing.
Others, meanwhile, expressed their anger at de-facto Saudi ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has led a far-reaching crackdown on dissent in the kingdom.
At least 11 journalists are currently being detained in Saudi Arabia and the kingdom ranks as one of the worst in the world for the media.
In an interview published by Bloomberg on Friday, Crown Prince Bin Salman defiantly declared that Saudi Arabia had "nothing to hide" with regards to Khashoggi's disappearance.
"We will allow them [Turkish police] to enter and search and do whatever they want to do," he added, referring to the Turkish authorities, according to a transcript of the interview. "We have nothing to hide".
Some expressed their lack of surprise at reports of Khashoggi's killing, referring to Prince Mohammed's record of already having arrested and rounded up opponents and critics.
Twitter users in the Arab world used the Arabic language hashtag "TheMartyrdom(of)_Jamal_Khashoggi" to pay their respects to a man who had dedicated his career to the improvement of his country.
"A great testimony to you, oh Jamal, and a great shame and disgrace on the killers," wrote one user.
"You were great in your life, great in your death, peace be upon you among the martyrs," wrote another.
Khashoggi, a former government adviser who went into self-imposed exile in the US last year to avoid possible arrest, had been critical of some of the policies of bin Salman and Riyadh's intervention in the war in Yemen.
Saudi Arabia, which ranks 169th out of 180 on the World Press Freedom Index issued by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), has embarked on a modernisation campaign since the 2017 appointment of Prince Mohammed as heir to the throne.
But the much lauded 'reforms' made by the ultra-conservative kingdom, have now been shown to be little more than a cover for growing authoritarianism.