The International Press Institute (IPI), a global network of editors, media executives and journalists for press freedom, today expressed concern over the apparent abduction of Jamal Khashoggi, a noted Saudi Arabian journalist living in self-imposed exile in the United States, at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.

In a letter to the king of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Said, IPI urged Saudi Arabia to release Khashoggi and ensure his safety. Khashoggi, the former editor of Al Watan newspaper, went to the consulate on Tuesday morning, reportedly for documents he needed to get married. He has not been seen since. His friends have alerted Turkish authorities, but so far there has been no word from the Saudi Arabian consulate about Khashoggi’s whereabouts.

“We fear that Jamal Khashoggi is being held against his will at the consulate for writing articles critical of the government of Saudi Arabia”, IPI Head of Advocacy Ravi R. Prasad wrote in the letter to the king, calling for the latter’s immediate intervention.

He continued: “If, as it claims, Saudi Arabia truly wishes to transition to a more open society, it will have to accept the fundamental rights of freedom of expression and freedom of the press. Doing so means, as a first and immediate step, releasing all individuals who have been deprived of their freedom for practicing journalism or expressing their opinions, including Mr. Khashoggi.”