Call by Khashoggi’s fiancée caused Saudi hit squad to panic, dump journo’s remains in well
Investigators believe that there is a high chance Khashoggi’s remains are still in Istanbul, most likely in the Saudi consul-general residence’s well
News ServiceYeni Şafak
Claims are circulating that the body of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, could possibly have been dumped in the well at the residence of the Saudi consul-general.
Police say Khashoggi was killed and dismembered within two hours, and taken from the Saudi consulate in suitcases and plastic bags. His DNA was found in a Vito minibus that traveled from the consulate to the consul-general’s residence, a distance of 300 meters.
Investigators believe that there is a high chance Khashoggi’s remains are still in Istanbul. Allegations that the 15-man hit squad panicked once they found out that Khashoggi’s fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, was waiting for the Saudi journalist outside the consulate have surfaced.
A 15-man hit team, many of them Saudi intelligence operatives, flew into Istanbul hours before Khashoggi’s death and entered the consulate on Oct. 2 while the journalist was inside.
Khashoggi was a U.S. resident who wrote columns for the Washington Post and he was critical of the Saudi government, calling for reforms.
Khashoggi murdered, dismembered in two hours
Security sources believe once Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate at 13:14 local time, there was a high level of activity inside and outside of the building. A black Vito with the number plate 34 CC 1865 neared the consulate gate at 15:08 local time, and camera footage shows suitcases and black plastic bags being loaded into the vehicle before it traveled to the consul-general’s residence.
Murdered in the consul-general’s office
Once Khashoggi entered the consulate, he was allegedly invited to the Consul General Mohammad al-Otaibi’s office, where he was choked to death. His body was dragged to the conference room behind the consul general’s office. Khashoggi’s body was tehn allegedly divided into three pieces, and his head, chest and legs were put into a suitcase. Salah al-Tubaigy, a forensic doctor and reported autopsy expert, was the one who dismembered the body. He then proceeded to clean the conference room.
Khashoggi remains may be hidden in well
Turkish teams searched the consulate on Oct. 18, and the 12-meter-deep well is now being evaluated as the dumping site of Khashoggi’s body. Turkish security forces were not allowed to search the garden and well in Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul, however, water samples were taken.
Hatice Cengiz foiled Saudi plan
Noting that the remains could be protected by waterproof chemicals, the prosecution office demanded that the water in the well be emptied and the bottom searched. It is believed that the presence of Hatice Cengiz foiled the plot to bury the body in Istanbul’s Belgrad Forest when she called the consulate security demanding to know the whereabouts of Jamal.
Cengiz called the consulate at 17:30 local time and said that her fiancée had entered but not reemerged. When asked where she was, Cengiz told the consulate worker that she was outside. A Saudi official then emerged and told her all rooms had been searched but Khashoggi was not inside. Following this, the 15-member Saudi squad that had made reservations for five days at two hotels returned to Riyadh.
Within the scope of the investigation, the police searched 26 different vehicles as well as the consul-general’s residence. Following a tipoff, police found a diplomatic vehicle belonging to the Saudi consulate in a carpark in Istanbul’s Sultangazi district. A laptop and documents were found in the vehicle which was not on the original search list.
On the day of the murder, it was found that the security cameras Saudi authorities had claimed were not working were actually switched off one hour before the murder time. The audio recording of the last minutes of Khashoggi’s life is allegedly the hands of Turkey’s national intelligence organization, MİT.
Khashoggi body double spotted out and about in Istanbul
As part of the probe launched by the Chief Public Prosecutors' Office in Istanbul, a special security team went through 3,500 hour-long footages from a total of 137 surveillance cameras at 72 points.
Moustafa al-Madani, who led the intelligence efforts of the 15-man team in Istanbul, entered the consulate building by the front door four hours earlier together with Saudi's forensic medicine chief Salah al-Tubaiqi. Following the murder, Madani donned Khashoggi’s clothes, eyeglasses and Apple watch and left through the back door of the consulate in an attempt to make it look like the journalist had walked out of the building, although he was wearing different shoes to the ones Khashoggi entered the consulate with. He is seen in Khashoggi's clothing near the city's Blue Mosque in the Sultanahmet district hours after the journalist was seen entering the consulate building.
Madani is a government employee who studied at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province, according to a Facebook profile with photographs resembling the suspect identified by Turkish media.