ISTANBUL – American actor and filmmaker Sean Penn was seen in Istanbul on Wednesday to film a documentary about the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom’s consulate, Turkish media reported.
In one image shared by state run Anadolu Agency, two-time Oscar winner Penn was seen outside the consulate with a crew of around 10, including bodyguards, and shot in front of the consulate as well as the residence of the Saudi consul, who left Turkey after the killing.
Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and columnist for The Washington Post, was killed during his visit to the consulate to obtain marriage-related paperwork on October 2. He was residing in the US since 2017.
After initially saying he had left the consulate alive, weeks later the Saudi administration admitted he was killed there, and blamed a “rogue” team.
As many as 21 people, including security officers, have been arrested in Saudi Arabia in connection with the killing.
The remains of the 59-year-old have not yet been found despite searches of the consulate and other places.
Pro-government daily Sabah said the actor wanted to meet Khashoggi’s Turkish fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, during his visit.
Since Khashoggi was critical of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, there has been speculation the de facto leader of the kingdom ordered the hit.
Turkey’s foreign minister said Wednesday Ankara will not hesitate to consult international quarters if a deadlock is reached on the Jamal Khashoggi probe. Speaking to reporters after the NATO Foreign Minister’s meeting in Brussels, Mevlut Cavusoglu said a probe into the killing of the Saudi journalist is ongoing.
— ANADOLU AGENCY (ENG) (@anadoluagency) December 5, 2018
The Turkish minister’s statement comes a day after US Republican Senators Lindsey Graham and Bob Corker accused the Saudi crown prince of being “complicit” in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi after a CIA briefing on Tuesday.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stopped just short of pointing the finger at the crown prince, known as MbS, but has refused to go along with Donald Trump’s line that there can be no way of discovering from the available evidence if bin Salman, who has repeatedly protested his innocence, gave the order for the murder.
Erdogan has said the command came from the highest level of the Saudi government and has demanded the suspects be extradited to Turkey so that it can complete a full investigation. Turkey has provided allies with an audio recording said to capture the killing.
Penn, 58, made headlines last year after he interviewed notorious drug lord Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman in a hideout in Mexico months before his recapture. Rolling Stone magazine reported that the meeting between El Chapo and Sean Penn was brokered by Mexican actress Kate del Castillo.
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