Trump Suggests ‘Rogue Killers’ Murdered Saudi Journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Draws Criticism

Ann Santiago
October 18, 2018

The dissident journalist was killed minutes after he arrived at the building to pick up marriage paperwork on 2 October, according to U.S. and Turkish press reports of what the officials say are audio recordings that prove he was beaten and drugged, then brutally killed and dismembered.

There are claims that Mr Mr Khashoggi was killed and dismembered inside the building by a 15-member Saudi "assassination squad".

Turkish investigators entered the Saudi consul's residence on Wednesday after delays.

It is suspected that the Washington Post columnist, who was critical of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed while visiting the Gulf kingdom's consulate in Istanbul.

Turkish police have identified five suspects - four of whom have ties to the Saudi crown prince - in the investigation launched into the disappearance and alleged murder of prominent journalist Jamal Khashoggi, according to a us media report.

On Tuesday, a high-level Turkish official told the AP that police found "certain evidence" of Mr. Khashoggi's slaying at the consulate, without elaborating.

Three sources told CNN a high ranking officer with the General Intelligence Presidency, Saudi Arabia's main intelligence service, organised the mission which resulted in Mr Khashoggi's alleged death.

Khashoggi, a Saudi national and US resident who has been a vocal press critic of Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has not been seen since entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2. Local TV channels have broadcast what they said was footage of a vehicle exiting the consulate premises and parking at the residence two hours after Khashoggi disappeared.

"We have said before that Saudi Arabia must cooperate with us in every aspect without delay".

Pompeo said he stressed the "importance of [Saudi authorities] conducting a complete investigation into the disappearance", and that the kingdom had vowed to do so.

Khashoggi was killed within minutes and his torturers severed his fingers during the interrogation, the newspaper said. But this is the first time Turkish media claimed to have heard them.

According to Yeni Safak, Saudi Arabia's consul to Istanbul, Mohammed al-Otaibi, can be heard on one tape saying during Khashoggi's torture: "Do this outside".

"There seems to be clear evidence that Khashoggi entered the Consulate and has never been seen since, the onus is on the Saudi authorities to reveal what happened to him from that point onwards", she said.

While Pompeo was in Riyadh, Trump said on Twitter that he had talked with the crown prince, the country's de facto leader, "who totally denied any knowledge of what took place in their Turkish consulate".

Another pictured is reportedly forensic expert Dr Salah Muhammed al Tubaigy. According to the report, Turkish officials provided them with copies of the documents.

The controversy has blown a massive hole in Prince Mohammed's bid to promote himself as the modern face of Saudi Arabia and led to a spate of cancelations by attendees at a major Riyadh investment conference scheduled next week.

"Here we go again with you're guilty until proven innocent", Trump told The Associated Press as he compared the allegations against Saudi Arabia to the sexual misconduct allegations from multiple women against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearing.

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