In his last words, Khashoggi asked his killers not to suf­fo­cate him

Baltimore Sun - - NATION & WORLD -

ANKARA, Tur­key — In his fi­nal words, slain Saudi jour­nal­ist Ja­mal Khashoggi urged his killers not to cover his mouth be­cause he suf­fered from asthma and could suf­fo­cate, ac­cord­ing to Tur­key’s Sabah news­pa­per.

Sabah news­pa­per, which is close to Tur­key’s govern­ment, pub­lished new de­tails of a recording of Khashoggi’s con­ver­sa­tion with mem­bers of a Saudi hit squad sent to kill him. The paper says the recording of Khashoggi’s grisly Oct. 2, 2018, killing and re­ported dis­mem­ber­ment at the Saudi Con­sulate in Is­tan­bul was ob­tained by Tur­key’s in­tel­li­gence agency.

Ac­cord­ing to the tran­script, Ma­her Mutreb, a mem­ber of the Saudi hit squad, tells Khashoggi that he has to be taken back to Riyadh be­cause of an In­ter­pol or­der against him. The jour­nal­ist ob­jects, say­ing there is no le­gal case against him and that his fi­ancee is wait­ing for him out­side.

Mutreb and another man are also heard try­ing to force Khashoggi to send his son a mes­sage telling him not to worry if he doesn’t hear from him, ac­cord­ing to the paper. Khashoggi re­sists say­ing: “I will write noth­ing.

Mutreb is later heard say­ing: “Help us, so that we can help you. Be­cause in the end, we will take you to Saudi Ara­bia. And if you don’t help us, you know what will hap­pen in the end.”

Sabah also pub­lished Khashoggi’s last words be­fore he was ap­par­ently drugged and lost con­scious­ness.

“Don’t cover my mouth,” he told his killers, ac­cord­ing to Sabah. “I have asthma, don’t do it. You’ll suf­fo­cate me.”

Some of the de­tails of the tran­script pub­lished by Sabah were al­ready in a sear­ing United Na­tions re­port over Khashoggi’s killing that had been re­leased in June. The U.N. re­port al­leged that Saudi Ara­bia bears re­spon­si­bil­ity for the killing and said Crown Prince Mo­hammed bin Sal­man’s pos­si­ble role in the killing should be ex­am­ined.

Saudi Ara­bia ini­tially of­fered mul­ti­ple, shift­ing ac­counts about Khashoggi’s dis­ap­pear­ance. As in­ter­na­tional pres­sure mounted, the king­dom even­tu­ally set­tled on the ex­pla­na­tion that he was killed by rogue of­fi­cials in a brawl in­side their con­sulate.

The king­dom has put 11 peo­ple on trial in non­pub­lic pro­ceed­ings. The 33-yearold prince, who con­tin­ues to have the sup­port of his fa­ther, King Sal­man, de­nies any in­volve­ment in the slay­ing.

Khashoggi’s re­mains have never been found.

HASAN JA­MALI/AP 2014

Ja­mal Khashoggi told his killers he had asthma.

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