A frequent companion of Saudi Arabia’s crown prince entered its Istanbul consulate just hours before the dissident writer Jamal Khashoggi disappeared inside, according to a time-stamped photograph published on Thursday by a leading pro-government Turkish newspaper.
The photograph of the companion, who has been previously identified as Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, is one of the most striking pieces of evidence to date linking Mr. Khashoggi’s Oct. 2 disappearance and possible death to the crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.
The Saudi authorities have denied any involvement but have provided no information on Mr. Khashoggi’s fate and say they are investigating as well.
The Turkish newspaper, Sabah, also showed photographs of Mr. Mutreb outside the Saudi consul general’s home, leaving a Turkish hotel with a large suitcase, and leaving the country from Istanbul’s international airport, all later on Oct. 2.
Time stamps on the photographs, which Sabah said had been taken from closed-circuit television, showed Mr. Mutreb entering the Saudi consulate at 9:55 a.m., at the consul general’s home at 4:45 p.m., leaving the Istanbul hotel at 5:15 p.m., and at the airport leaving Turkey at 5:58 p.m.
Mr. Khashoggi, 60, a Washington Post columnist whose disappearance has caused an international uproar and deeply tarnished the Saudi government’s image, entered the consulate at about 1:15 p.m. He was never seen leaving.
The Turkish government has been leaking details in the domestic press that suggest that a 15-member hit team from Saudi Arabia, including Mr. Mutreb, assassinated Mr. Khashoggi inside the consulate, severing his fingers and decapitating and dismembering him.
On Tuesday, The New York Times linked Mr. Mutreb and at least three others among the 15 suspects to Crown Prince Mohammed’s security detail. Mr. Mutreb had previously been seen in photographs of the crown prince’s three-week visit to the United States this year.