A Turkish daily has released what it says are detailed transcripts of audio recordings from inside Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul on the day when Saudi government agents killed and dismembered the body of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The Turkish Daily Sabah newspaper on Monday released the transcripts of the alleged conversations between Khashoggi and the 15-man hit squad that had been sent on a mission to kill him before and during the assassination.
The original audio file was obtained by Turkey’s national intelligence, according to the daily.
Khashoggi, a former advocate of the Saudi royal court who later became a critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018 after he entered the perimeter to collect documents for his planned wedding. He had been falsely promised the documents.
The Washington Post, for which Khashoggi was a columnist, reported in November last year that the CIA had concluded that Mohammed personally ordered his killing.
According to the scripts, Khashoggi meets a familiar face when he enters the consulate and is later pulled by the arm into a room, where he grows suspicious.
“Please sit. We have to take you back [to Riyadh],” Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, a Saudi intelligence officer and the bodyguard of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, tells Khashoggi after he enters the room, adding, “There is an order from Interpol. Interpol demanded you be returned. We are here to take you.”
The Saudi journalist responds, “There are no lawsuits against me. My fiancée is waiting outside for me.”
According to the recordings, Mutreb later asks Khashoggi to “leave a message for your son.”
When Khashoggi declines to write such a message, Mutreb says, “Write it, Mister Jamal. Hurry up. Help us so we can help you, because in the end we will take you back to Saudi Arabia and if you don’t help us, you know what will happen eventually.”
Khashoggi is then drugged using a towel. He asks them not to block his mouth. A plastic bag was also pulled on his head.
“I have asthma. Do not do it, you will suffocate me,” Khashoggi says before losing consciousness and suffocating.
Just before his death, sounds of scuffling and gasping for breath dominate the recordings.
Sounds of a bone saw and the dismemberment of Khashoggi's body are then heard at 1.39 pm local time, just 25 minutes after he enters the consulate, the report said.
The brutal procedure reportedly took 30 minutes.
Ankara has called Khashoggi’s killing “premeditated murder,” and has pressed the kingdom for information on his dismembered body’s whereabouts.
Riyadh, which initially claimed Khashoggi left the consulate on October 2 last year, later admitted that he was killed, blaming the murder on a “rogue” group.
‘I’ve never worked on a warm body, but I’ll manage that easily’
Minutes before Khasoggi’s arrival, Mutreb is heard asking, “Is it possible to put the body in a bag?” To which Salah Mohammed Abdah Tubaigy, a Saudi forensics doctor, responds it is not possible. “Too heavy, very tall, too.”
“Actually, I’ve always worked on cadavers. I know how to cut very well. I have never worked on a warm body though, but I’ll also manage that easily. I normally put on my earphones and listen to music when I cut cadavers. In the meantime, I sip on my coffee and smoke,” Tubaigy says.
“After I dismember it, you will wrap the parts into plastic bags, put them in suitcases and take them out [of the building],” he adds.
At the end of the conversation, Mutreb asks whether the “animal to be sacrificed” has arrived. An unidentified member of the team says, “[he] is here.”
Germany to resume training of Saudi forces
Following Khashoggi’s brutal murder, Germany decided to suspend the training mission of Saudi border guards.
Less than a year after his assassination, though, the German Interior Ministry confirmed on Monday the resumption of the training mission.
Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine said on Saturday that “the German federal police will send their trainers back to Saudi Arabia after ordering the suspension of this training mission last year.”
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