Sean Penn Spotted Filming Documentary on Murder of Khashoggi

(Bloomberg) -- Hollywood actor and activist Sean Penn is filming a documentary on the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, according to Turkish media, as sustained outrage over the killing threatens U.S. ties with its chief Gulf ally.

Penn was seen directing shooting on Wednesday outside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, where Khashoggi was killed and dismembered on Oct. 2, as well as at the residence of the Saudi consul general, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency and Hurriyet Daily News reported.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused members of Saudi Arabia’s government of ordering the killing of Saudi insider-turned-critic Khashoggi, coming close to directly implicating the kingdom’s de facto leader Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. After a briefing with CIA Director Gina Haspel this week, a group of bipartisan U.S. senators said they were convinced the prince played a role in the murder, a mood that could trigger sanctions against the kingdom.

The documentary by Penn, whose activism has covered peace in the Middle East to the fight against drug cartels and countering global warming, could increase public awareness as Congress raises pressure on the Trump administration to respond.

In Turkey’s latest move, the prosecutor’s office in Istanbul on Wednesday issued arrest orders for Saudi officials Ahmad al-Assiri and Saud al-Qahtani, who allegedly supervised the team that killed Khashoggi. Erdogan has complained that a Saudi prosecutor who visited Istanbul to investigate the killing didn’t share information.

Turkey says it is determined to shed light on the killing, which has damaged the leadership of its top rival for regional influence.

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