World Turk­ish pros­e­cu­tor : Khashoggi was stran­gled and dis­mem­bered

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - Asean Focus - 14 NOVEM­BER 2, 2018

TURKEY’S top pros­e­cu­tor on Wed­nes­day laid out the most de­tailed de­scrip­tion yet of how the jour­nal­ist Ja­mal Khashoggi was killed, say­ing Saudi agents stran­gled him to death al­most im­me­di­ately af­ter he af­ter en­tered the Saudi Con­sulate in Is­tan­bul and then dis­mem­bered him.

But the new in­for­ma­tion did not ad­dress the ques­tion that has be­dev­iled in­ves­ti­ga­tors and been the sub­ject of fu­ri­ous spec­u­la­tion: What hap­pened to Khashoggi’s re­mains?

A se­nior Turk­ish of­fi­cial said in an in­ter­view that Turk­ish author­i­ties are pur­su­ing a the­ory that Khashoggi’s dis­mem­bered body had been de­stroyed in acid on the grounds of the Saudi Con­sulate or at the nearby res­i­dence of the Saudi con­sul gen­eral. Bi­o­log­i­cal ev­i­dence dis­cov­ered in the con­sulate gar­den sup­ports the the­ory that Khashoggi’s body was dis­posed of near to where he was killed and dis­mem­bered, the of­fi­cial said.

“Khashoggi’s body was not in need of bury­ing,” said the of­fi­cial, who re­quested anonymity to dis­cuss a sen­si­tive in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

While Saudi of­fi­cials now ac­knowl­edge that Khashoggi was killed in­side the con­sulate on Oct. 2, all they have said about his body is that the as­sailants gave it to a “lo­cal col­lab­o­ra­tor” for dis­posal. The se­nior Turk­ish of­fi­cial said Turk­ish in­ves­ti­ga­tors do not be­lieve such a fig­ure ex­ists.

A sec­ond se­nior Turk­ish of­fi­cial said that Saudi Ara­bia’s top pros­e­cu­tor, Saud al-mo­jeb, who com­pleted a three-day visit to Is­tan­bul on Wed­nes­day, did not pro­vide the lo­ca­tion of Khashoggi’s body or iden­tify any “lo­cal col­lab­o­ra­tor.”

Since Mo­jeb ar­rived in Turkey on Mon­day, “Saudi of­fi­cials seemed pri­mar­ily in­ter­ested in find­ing out what ev­i­dence the Turk­ish author­i­ties had against the per­pe­tra­tors,” the Turk­ish of­fi­cial said, speak­ing on the con­di­tion of anonymity to dis­cuss pri­vate law en­force­ment con­tacts. “We did not get the im­pres­sion that they were keen on gen­uinely co­op­er­at­ing with the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.”

Turk­ish pros­e­cu­tor Ir­fan Fi­dan is­sued his pub­lic de­scrip­tion of the killing shortly af­ter Mo­jeb left Is­tan­bul, amid mount­ing Turk­ish com­plaints about a lack of Saudi co­op­er­a­tion.

Fi­dan said Khashoggi was “stran­gled as soon as he en­tered the con­sulate” in line with “pre­med­i­tated plans.” The body, “af­ter be­ing stran­gled, was sub­se­quently de­stroyed by be­ing dis­mem­bered, once again con­firm­ing the plan­ning of the mur­der,” Fi­dan said.

The Turk­ish state­ment used the word “bogul­mak,” which can also mean suf­fo­ca­tion.

Turk­ish of­fi­cials say mem­bers of a 15-man hit team dis­patched from Saudi Ara­bia killed Khashoggi in­side the con­sulate be­fore fly­ing out of Turkey later the same day.

The Turk­ish gov­ern­ment says it has what it de­scribes as an au­dio record­ing of what tran­spired in­side the mis­sion. Al­though Turk­ish of­fi­cials have played the au­dio for CIA of­fi­cials, in­clud­ing Di­rec­tor Gina Haspel, Turk­ish of­fi­cials have not re­leased the au­dio to the pub­lic.

Saudi Ara­bia has pro­vided shift­ing ex­pla­na­tions about what hap­pened to Khashoggi, a Saudi cit­i­zen, con­tribut­ing colum­nist to The Wash­ing­ton Post and critic of the Saudi lead­er­ship, in­clud­ing the de facto Saudi ruler, Crown Prince Mo­hammed bin Sal­man. For more than two weeks, Saudi author­i­ties re­peat­edly de­nied any knowl­edge of Khashoggi’s where­abouts, then abruptly changed their ac­count, blam­ing the killing on agents act­ing out­side the Saudi gov­ern­ment’s author­ity.

Turk­ish in­ves­ti­ga­tors ini­tially fo­cused their search for Khashoggi’s body in two wooded ar­eas out­side Is­tan­bul, guided in part by sur­veil­lance footage that Turk­ish author­i­ties said showed Saudi diplo­matic ve­hi­cles ap­par­ently scout­ing Bel­grad For­est the night be­fore the jour­nal­ist was killed.

Last week, in­ves­ti­ga­tors sus­pended the search, fo­cus­ing in­stead on the con­sulate’s grounds and the con­sul gen­eral’s res­i­dence.

The search fo­cused in par­tic­u­lar on a well on con­sular prop­erty, where the as­sailants could have dis­posed of Khashoggi’s dis­solved re­mains, the first se­nior Turk­ish of­fi­cial said.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors last week also in­spected the sewer sys­tem near the con­sulate, ac­cord­ing to Turkey’s staterun Anadolu news agency.

–The Wash­ing­ton Post

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