Members of a team from Saudi Arabia sent to help Turkish authorities investigate the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi worked instead to remove evidence of the slaying, a senior Turkish official said Monday.
The official confirmed a report in Turkey’s Sabah newspaper that an 11-member team of Saudi investigators that arrived in Turkey nine days after Khashoggi was killed to take part in a joint Turkish-Saudi probe included experts on chemistry and toxicology who were reportedly charged with obfuscating the evidence.The official said Turkey believes that two members of the team “came to Turkey for the sole purpose of covering up evidence” before Turkish police were allowed to search the Saudi Consulate, where Khashoggi was killed on Oct. 2 after he entered to collect a document he needed to marry his Turkish fiancee.The official said the fact that a clean-up team was dispatched suggests that Khashoggi’s killing “was within the knowledge of top Saudi officials.” The official spoke on condition of anonymity, in line with government rules.
The official also confirmed the Sabah report which identified the two experts as Ahmed Abdulaziz Al-Janobi and Khaled Yahya al-Zahrani.The information was the latest in a series of leaks from Turkish officials apparently aimed at keeping up the pressure on Saudi Arabia and ensuring that the killing is not covered-up.Istanbul’s chief prosecutor, who is leading the investigation, announced last week that Khashoggi, who lived in exile in the United States, was strangled immediately after he entered the consulate as part of a premeditated killing and that his body was dismembered before being removed.Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in an op-ed in the Washington Post last week that the order to kill Khashoggi came from the highest level of the Saudi government and added that the international community had the responsibility to “reveal the puppet masters” behind the slaying.
A senior official of Turkey’s ruling party — and a friend of Khashoggi’s — has suggested his body may have been dissolved in acid or other chemicals.Turkey’s vice president, Fuat Oktay, told state-run Anadolu Agency that such reports need to be investigated.Meanwhile, two of Khashoggi’s sons appealed for his remains to be returned so that he may be buried in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia beefs up troops in Yemen, despite U.S. calls for truce
© 2018 The Canadian Press