Turkish employees of Saudi consulate give statements in Khashoggi probe

Консульство Саудівської Аравії у день убивства Хашоггі створило двійника журналіста – ЗМІ – новини

Turkish employees of Saudi consulate give statements in Khashoggi probe

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he will release information about his country's investigation into the murder case in a speech on Tuesday. Her government and others in Europe have said the kingdom's explanation so far of what happened to Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul is insufficient. The kingdom's claim on Saturday that Khashoggi died in a "fistfight" met worldwide skepticism and allegations of a cover-up to absolve the 33-year-old crown prince of direct responsibility.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced the suspension of German arms sales to Saudi Arabia, saying they can not be undertaken in the current circumstances, a reference to the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi who disappeared on October 2 and whom Riyadh has admitted died inside its consulate in Istanbul. He added: "We will know very soon".

Khashoggi went to the consulate on October 2 to get documents ahead of his upcoming wedding to his Turkish fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, who has now been given 24-hour protection according to Turkish state media.

Once he was inside the diplomatic mission, reports also claimed the Saudis accosted 59-year-old Mr Khashoggi, cut off his fingers, then killed and dismembered him.

Surveillance video on CNN showed the man in Khashoggi's dress shirt, suit jacket and trousers, although he wore a different pair of shoes.

A senior Turkish official quoted by CNN said that the Saudi was "brought to Istanbul to act as a body double" for Khashoggi, adding: "This was a premeditated murder and the body was moved out of the consulate". He later eats dinner with his accomplice and goes back to a hotel, where footage shows him smiling and laughing.

The state-run broadcaster TRT later also reported that a man who entered the consulate building was seen leaving the building in Khashoggi's clothes.

The next day a Saudi official insisted that Khashoggi had left shortly after getting the paperwork and that he was "not in the consulate nor in Saudi custody". Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. Prince Khalid bin Salman, a brother of the crown prince, wrote October 8 that Khashoggi had left, and that claims the kingdom "have detained him or killed him are absolutely false, and baseless".

Khashoggi, a Virginia-based journalist and a staunch critic of Riyadh, fled Saudi Arabia last September. The newspaper said the four calls went to Bader al-Asaker, the head of Prince Mohammed's office.

Fearing a trap, Abdulaziz said he had refused to go and later two of his brothers and a handful of his friends were arrested in the kingdom.

It wasn't clear if the German government also plans to block arms exports to Saudi Arabia that it previously approved.

So much for the "thorough, transparent and timely investigation that provides answers" about the Washington Post columnist's fate that the kingdom promised Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

He also dismissed claims of "bargaining" between Saudi Arabia and Turkey as "immoral".

In a related development on Monday, Turkish police announced they had found an abandoned vehicle belonging to the Saudi consulate at an underground auto park in Istanbul, three weeks after Khashoggi's murder.

Saudi exiles also said that official attempts had been underway to "trap" overseas critics of the government or lure them to return to the kingdom since Bin Salman became crown prince previous year.

A Saudi friend of Khashoggi who was in frequent touch with him before his death told the AP that Salah Khashoggi had been under a travel ban and barred from leaving the kingdom since a year ago as a result of his father's criticism of the government.

"Many activists overseas don't speak up, fearful of bringing harm to their families back home, losing their scholarships or worse abduction and arrest", she added. The Saudi statements did not acknowledge the ban.

Twenty consulate workers gave statements to prosecutors in relation to the incident last week, NTV had reported previously.

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