Tuesday 17 September 2019

Khashoggi killers may have taken his body out of Turkey in luggage

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (Amr Nabil/AP)
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (Amr Nabil/AP)

Tuvan Gumrukcu in Ankara

The killers of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi may have smuggled his dismembered body out of Turkey in luggage, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar has claimed.

Mr Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, sparking global outrage against the kingdom and de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Riyadh had offered numerous contradictory explanations for his disappearance, before saying Mr Khashoggi was killed after "negotiations" to convince him to return to Saudi Arabia failed.

Speaking at a conference in Canada, Mr Akar said Mr Khashoggi's killers may have taken the journalist's body parts out of Turkey in luggage.

"One probability is that they left the country three to four hours after committing the murder. They may have taken out Khashoggi's dismembered corpse inside luggage without facing problems due to their diplomatic immunity," Mr Akar told CNN Turk.

Turkey has said a group of 15 individuals, including a two-man "clean-up team", was involved, and Mr Khashoggi's body had been dismembered. Turkish officials have also called for an investigation into whether the body was dissolved in acid.

Saudi public prosecutor Shalaan al-Shalaan said last week Mr Khashoggi's body was dismembered, removed from the building and handed to an unidentified "local co-operator".

More than a month after the murder, Turkey is trying to maintain pressure on Prince Mohammed, releasing a stream of evidence that undermined Riyadh's early denials.

US President Donald Trump has described a CIA assessment blaming Prince Mohammed for the killing as "very premature" and said he would receive a complete report on the case tomorrow.

Mr Trump said he did not want to listen to an audio recording of the murder, despite facing mounting pressure to punish Saudi Arabia for the killing. Mr Trump said he would not listen to it "because it's a suffering tape, it's a terrible tape. I don't want to hear the tape, no reason for me to hear the tape.

"I know everything that went on in the tape without having to hear it ... It was very violent, very vicious and terrible."

Turkish officials who heard the recordings, which include Mr Khashoggi's killing and conversations leading up to the operation, were horrified by the contents.

Irish Independent

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