LONDON — Jamal Khashoggi, a prominent Saudi dissident, met two friends for lunch last Monday in London to discuss a newspaper column he had drafted lamenting the lack of free speech in the Arab world. “Everyone is fearful,” he wrote.
But Mr. Khashoggi appeared to have little fear about his plans for the next day: to pick up a document from the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. He brushed aside warnings from his friends that his criticism of the kingdom’s rulers had drawn their enmity, making the consulate dangerous territory.
The consular staff, he assured them, “are just ordinary Saudis, and the ordinary Saudis are good people,” recalled one of his lunch companions, Azzam Tamimi.
On Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Khashoggi entered the consulate. He has not been seen since.
Turkish investigators say that a team of 15 Saudi agents killed him inside the consulate, several officials told The New York Times and other news organizations. “He was killed and his body was dismembered,” Turan Kislakci, the head of Turkish Arab Media Association, said officials had told him.