Khashoggi’s body parts trans­ported in suit­cases: re­port

Tehran Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

The Turk­ish pro-gov­ern­ment news­pa­per Sabah has re­ported that jour­nal­ist Ja­mal Khashoggi’s corpse was dis­mem­bered and put into five suit­cases af­ter he was stran­gled upon en­ter­ing the House of Saud regime’s con­sulate in Is­tan­bul.

Cit­ing un­named of­fi­cials, Sabah re­ported on Sun­day that the suit­cases were then taken to the Saudi regime’s res­i­dence near the con­sulate the day the writer was killed on Oc­to­ber 2.

The of­fi­cials said that Ma­her Mutreb, Salah Tubeigy and Thaar al-Harbi were the three key fig­ures from the 15-mem­ber hit squad who were in­volved in dis­mem­ber­ing Khashoggi’s body and re­mov­ing it from the premises.

Mutreb was a di­rect aide to the Saudi regime Crown Prince Mo­hammed bin Sal­man, also known as MBS, while Tubeigy was the head of the Saudi Sci­en­tific Coun­cil of Foren­sics and a colonel in the Saudi regime army.

Al-Harbi was re­port­edly pro­moted to lieu­tenant in the Saudi royal guard last year for brav­ery in the de­fense of the crown prince’s palace in Jed­dah.

The leak of the de­tails co­in­cides with Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan’s state­ment in which he said he be­lieved that the or­der to kill the jour­nal­ist came from the “high­est lev­els” of the Saudi state.

In an opin­ion piece pub­lished by the United States news­pa­per The Wash­ing­ton Post on Fri­day, Er­do­gan called on the House of Saud regime to an­swer out­stand­ing ques­tions con­cern­ing the 59-year-old’s killing last month.

“We must re­veal the iden­ti­ties of the pup­pet masters be­hind Khashoggi’s killing,” Er­do­gan said.

The body of Khashoggi, a for­mer Wash­ing­ton Post colum­nist and critic of MBS, re­mains miss­ing.

On Wed­nes­day, a Turk­ish pros­e­cu­tor said Khashoggi was stran­gled and dis­mem­bered soon af­ter en­ter­ing the build­ing, in the first of­fi­cial com­ments from the Turks on the fate of the writer. Turk­ish me­dia out­lets have named the 15 Saudi sus­pects who flew into Is­tan­bul and left on the same day the jour­nal­ist was last seen.

The joint Turk­ish and Saudi probe into Khashoggi’s fate has made lit­tle progress so far.

On Fri­day, an ad­viser to Turkey’s Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan said the team that killed Khashoggi cut up his body in or­der to dis­solve for eas­ier dis­posal.

Yasin Ak­tay, who was a friend of Khashoggi’s, told Hur­riyet news­pa­per that the corpse was dis­posed of by dis­mem­ber­ing and dis­solv­ing it. “Ac­cord­ing to the lat­est in­for­ma­tion we have, the rea­son they dis­mem­bered his body is to dis­solve it eas­ier,” said Ak­tay. “They aimed to en­sure no sign of the body was left.”

A se­nior Turk­ish of­fi­cial has told Al Jazeera the jour­nal­ist’s body was dis­mem­bered and dis­solved in acid, with­out of­fer­ing ev­i­dence. The House of Saud regime ini­tially de­nied Khashoggi was killed in­side its con­sulate but, fol­low­ing in­tense in­ter­na­tional pres­sure and af­ter chang­ing their nar­ra­tive nu­mer­ous times, the Saudi regime pros­e­cu­tor ad­mit­ted that Khashoggi was killed in a “pre­med­i­tated” man­ner.

The Saudi regime pros­e­cu­tor flew to Turkey last week and met Is­tan­bul’s chief pros­e­cu­tor but the in­ves­ti­ga­tion has made lit­tle progress so far as Saudi Ara­bia and Turkey re­main at log­ger­heads.

Turkey’s jus­tice min­is­ter ac­cused the Saudis of fail­ing to an­swer ques­tions re­gard­ing the case.

Two ques­tions that Turkey wants Riyadh to an­swer re­late to the iden­tity of a “lo­cal col­lab­o­ra­tor” to whom Saudi regime of­fi­cials claimed to have handed over Khashoggi’s re­mains, as well as the iden­tity of the per­son who or­dered the killing.

On Wed­nes­day, a se­nior Turk­ish of­fi­cial said that Saudi Ara­bian of­fi­cials ap­peared un­will­ing to “gen­uinely co­op­er­ate” with Turkey’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“The Saudi of­fi­cials seemed pri­mar­ily in­ter­ested in find­ing out what ev­i­dence the Turk­ish au­thor­i­ties had against the per­pe­tra­tors,” the of­fi­cial told AFP news agency on the con­di­tion of anonymity. “We did not get the im­pres­sion that they were keen on gen­uinely co­op­er­at­ing with the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.”

The Saudis have also launched their own in­ves­ti­ga­tion, vow­ing to “un­cover ev­ery stone” and “pun­ish” those who are re­spon­si­ble. A spokesper­son for Pres­i­dent Er­do­gan’s Jus­tice and Devel­op­ment Party (AKP/Adalet ve Kalk?nma Par­tisi) said on Wed­nes­day Khashoggi’s killing could not have been made pos­si­ble with­out or­ders from some­one in a se­nior po­si­tion.

Omar Ce­lik told re­porters in Ankara that Turkey would not let any­one cover up Khashoggi’s killing, adding that it was not pos­si­ble for the Saudi regime of­fi­cials to still not know the body’s where­abouts.

The Turk­ish pres­i­dent stressed in the Wash­ing­ton Post op-ed on Fri­day that Turkey would keep in­ves­ti­gat­ing Khashoggi’s case.

“We are shocked and sad­dened by the ef­forts of cer­tain Saudi of­fi­cials to cover up Khashoggi’s pre­med­i­tated mur­der, rather than serve the cause of jus­tice, as our friend­ship would re­quire,” Er­do­gan said.

Er­do­gan added that Khashoggi’s mur­der was a clear vi­o­la­tion and a “bla­tant abuse” of the Vi­enna Con­ven­tion on Con­sular Re­la­tions.

“Fail­ure to pun­ish the per­pe­tra­tors could set a very dan­ger­ous prece­dent,” Er­do­gan said.

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