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Saudi sent ‘cover-up team’ to dispose off Khashoggi body

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By PTI Updated: Nov 05, 2018 9:31 pm
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Istanbul, Nov. 5 (PTI/AFP): Saudi Arabia deployed a chemist and toxicology expert to Istanbul after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in an attempt to cover up evidence of the killing, a Turkish newspaper reported on Monday.
The murder of the Saudi royal-insider-turned critic inside Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul has provoked widespread international outrage.
Turkish authorities have released gruesome details of a killing that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said was a targeted hit.
While Riyadh officials have admitted the murder was planned, they have so far declined to release details of the whereabouts of the 59-year-old journalist’s missing body.
According to Turkey’s pro-government Sabah daily, Saudi Arabia sent an 11-member “cover-up team” to Istanbul on October 11, nine days after the Washington Post contributor vanished after entering the diplomatic compound to obtain paperwork for his marriage.
The paper said chemist Ahmad Abdulaziz Aljanobi and toxicology expert Khaled Yahya Al Zahrani were among “the so-called investigative team”, which visited the consulate every day until October 17, before leaving Turkey on October 20.
Saudi Arabia finally allowed Turkish police to search the consulate for the first time on October 15.
Turkey’s chief prosecutor said last week that Khashoggi was strangled as soon as he entered the consulate and also confirmed the body was dismembered.
Yasin Aktay, an advisor to Erdogan, hinted in an article published on Friday that the body may even have been destroyed in acid.
In an editorial published in The Washington Post, Erdogan accused authorities in Riyadh of refusing to answer key questions about the murder, despite their arrest of 18 suspects a fortnight ago.
He said the order to murder the journalist came from “the highest levels” of the Saudi government, adding that he did “not believe for a second” that King Salman was to blame. But he pointedly failed to absolve Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of responsibility for unleashing a “death squad” against the outspoken Saudi journalist.
The murder has badly tainted the kingdom’s de facto ruler.
Saudi Attorney General Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb met with Turkish authorities last week in Istanbul but refused to share information from Riyadh’s own investigation, according to Turkish officials.
Sons ask Saudis to return his body
The sons of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi have asked Saudi authorities to return the body of their father so the family can properly grieve, they told CNN in an interview aired Sunday.
Khashoggi was killed inside the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul by a team sent from Riyadh on October 2, a murder Turkey’s president said was ordered from “the highest levels” of Saudi Arabia’s government.
“I really hope that whatever happened wasn’t painful for him, or it was quick. Or he had a peaceful death,” Abdullah Khashoggi told the US network during the interview in Washington.
His brother Salah said “all what we want right now is to bury him in Al Baqi in Medina with the rest of his family,” referencing a cemetery in Saudi Arabia.
“I talked about that with the Saudi authorities and I just hope that it happens soon.” Turkey’s chief prosecutor said recently that Khashoggi was strangled as soon as he entered the consulate and also confirmed the body was dismembered.
Yasin Aktay, an advisor to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, hinted in an article published on Friday that the body may even have been destroyed in acid.
Khashoggi’s killing has provoked widespread outrage and sharp criticism from Washington, usually the staunchest of allies.
Khashoggi’s sons voiced worry that the work of their father, a columnist for The Washington Post, was being distorted for political reasons.
“I see a lot of people coming
out right now and trying to claim his legacy and unfortunately some of them are using that in a political way that we totally don’t agree with,” Salah told CNN. “My fear is that it’s being over politicized.”
“Jamal was never a dissident. He believed in the monarchy, that it is the thing that is keeping the country together.” The brothers said they have relied primarily on news reports to piece together an understanding of their father’s death.
“There’s a lot of ups and downs…. We’re trying to get the story — bits and pieces of the story to complete the whole picture,” Abdullah said. “It’s confusing and difficult.” “It’s not a normal situation and not a normal death.” Salah emphasized that “the King has stressed that everybody will be brought to justice. And I have faith in that.” The murdered journalist’s fiancee meanwhile has called on US President Donald Trump to back Turkey’s efforts to probe the death.

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By PTI Updated: Nov 05, 2018 9:31:38 pm