The Turkish pro-government newspaper Sabah has reported that journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s corpse was dismembered and put into five suitcases after he was strangled upon entering Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul.
Citing unnamed officials, Sabah reported on Sunday that the suitcases were then taken to the Saudi consul’s residence near the consulate the day the writer was killed on October 2.
The officials said that Maher Mutreb, Salah Tubeigy and Thaar al-Harbi were the three key figures from the 15-member hit squad who were involved in dismembering Khashoggi’s body and removing it from the premises.
Mutreb was a direct aide to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, also known as MBS, while Tubeigy was the head of the Saudi Scientific Council of Forensics and a colonel in the Saudi army.
Al-Harbi was reportedly promoted to lieutenant in the Saudi royal guard last year for bravery in the defence of the crown prince’s palace in Jeddah.
The leak of the details coincides with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s statement in which he said he believed that the order to kill the journalist came from the “highest levels” of the Saudi state.
Al Jazeera’s Andrew Simmons, reporting from Istanbul on Sunday, said that the latest information adds detail to the picture formulated by Turkish prosecutors that this was a gruesome murder.
Simmons said that Mutreb is a senior intelligence official, known as a key figure in the Saudi royal household for security who appeared to be leading the operation, while Tubeigy has experience in forensic pathology.
CCTV footage shows the three individuals travelled in a number of vehicles from the consulate to the consul general’s residence 200 metres away after the murder at 3 pm.
Less than 2 hours later, Mutreb is seen leaving the residence, CCTV footage shows.
It is at the residence that they reportedly disposed of the body parts, although it is unknown how this was done.
“This is a looming question. No one knows where the body went. One Turkish official is reported saying that there was acid used to dissolve the bodies, there’s another report that the well shaft was used in the garden of the consul general’s residence. It is unclear,” Simmons said.
“There is a real concern now that the Saudis aren’t being open enough with the Turkish investigators. Furthermore, on a political level, [there is] a big concern that world attention is beginning to wane somewhat on this whole case and whether or not the US is prepared to take firm action against the Saudis that Turkey wants to see.”
In an opinion piece published by US newspaper The Washington Post on Friday, Erdogan called on Saudi Arabia to answer outstanding questions concerning the 59-year-old’s killing last month.
“We must reveal the identities of the puppet masters behind Khashoggi’s killing,” Erdogan said.
The body of Khashoggi, a former Washington Post columnist and critic of MBS, remains missing.
On Wednesday, a Turkish prosecutor said Khashoggi was strangled and dismembered soon after entering the building, in the first official comments from the Turks on the fate of the writer.
Turkish media outlets have named the 15 Saudi suspects who flew into Istanbul and left on the same day the journalist was last seen.
The joint Turkish and Saudi probe into Khashoggi’s fate has made little progress so far.
Source- AL JAZEERA