Saudi journalist turned critic Jamal Khashoggi.
PHOTO BY ARCHIVE
DUBAI – Amid reports of how Jamal Khashoggi died, new details have emerged detailing the Saudi journalist’s death in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
A senior Saudi official, who requested anonymity, said 15 Saudi nationals had threatened the journalist turned critic, and then put him in a chokehold that killed him when he resisted.
“They tried to prevent him from shouting but he died,” the official said. The intention was not to kill him.”
A member of the team then reportedly dressed in Khashoggi’s clothes and left the consulate to make it appear like he walked out of the buildig, the official said.
Saudi Arabia has denied involvement in the disappearance of Khashoggi for two weeks before saying that he died in a fistfight at the consulate.
The Saudi official said that the body was rolled up in a rug and given to a “local cooperator” for disposal.
According to Turkish sources, Saudi authorities have an audio recording that documented Khashoggi’s murder but have not released it.
All 15 members of the Saudi team that confronted the journalis had been detained and placed under investigation, along with three other local suspects.
Here’s are new accounts from the Saudi official:
1. The government reportedly wanted to convince Khashoggi, who moved to the US last year for fear of reprisals for his view, to return to Saudi Arabia.
2. The deputy head of the General Intelligence Presidency, Ahmed Asiri, put together a 15-member team to meet Khashoggi at the consulate in Istanbul to convince him to return to Saudi Arabia.
3. The plan was to keep Khashoggi in a safe house outside Istanbul for a “period of time” and then release him if he refused to return to Saudi Arabia.
4. The team intimidated Khashoggi by saying, “We will drug you and kidnap you.”
5. Before heading into the consulate, Khashoggi had instructed his fiancee to wait for him and call an aide to Turkey’s president if he did not reappear within an hour.
6. The team panicked when Khashoggi raised his voice. They tried to restrain him by placing him in a chokehold and by covering his mouth. He died.
7. To cover up the death, the team rolled the body in a rug and took it out in a consular vehicle before giving it to a “local cooperator” who is an Istanbul resident.
8. Two consular vehicles left the consulate; one traveled to the Belgrade Forest, while the other went to the city of Yalova.
9. A forensic expert tried to remove any trace of the incident.
10. Saudi operative Mustafa Madani donned Khashoggi’s clothes, eyeglasses and Apple watch and left through the back door of the consulate. He disposed of the belongings in Sultanahmet district.
11. The Saudi team then wrote a false report saying they allowed Khashoggi to leave once he warned that Turkish authorities could get involved.
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