Jamal Khashoggi case: Ex-Saudi diplomat ‘pivotal’ in apparent killing
Forensics experts searched a van that allegedly carried the body of missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi from the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul to the Consul General’s residence
A Turkish daily reported on Friday, October 19, that forensics experts searched a van that allegedly carried the body of missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi from the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul to the Consul General's residence.
Turkish officials suspect that the Saudi "hit squad" used it to carry the body of the journalist from the Consulate to the Consul General Mohammad al-Otaibi's residence. al-Otaibi returned to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday before his residence in Istanbul was searched by police for more than eight hours on Wednesday and Thursday.
The vehicle had left the Consulate and arrived at about 200 metres away at the Consul General's residence about two hours after Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate on October 2.
Forensics teams searched the van for three hours by using special chemicals, including Luminol, to find evidence on the suspected murder, Yeni Safak said.
Turkish police are also investigating other consular vehicles that visited places in and around Istanbul immediately after the disappearance. The consulate building has been also searched twice.
Khashoggi, a dissident living in self-imposed exile in the US where he contributed to The Washington Post, vanished after entering the consulate in Istanbul on October 2.
Turkish officials claim Khashoggi was tortured, killed and dismembered in the consulate by a hit squad which arrived from Riyadh - claims denied by the Saudi government.
Turkish investigators continue to hunt for clues to what happened to Khashoggi amid growing indications that some of the men allegedly responsible for the journalist’s killing have close ties to the highest levels of the Saudi government
Saudi intelligence officer and former diplomat Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, played a "pivotal role" in the apparent assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a source familiar with the Turkish investigation told CNN.
The source said on Thursday, October 18, that Mutreb was fully aware of "the plot" of the operation. Mutreb, who was the first secretary at the Saudi embassy in London and has been described as a colonel in Saudi intelligence, is closely connected to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
US officials told CNN that any operation involving members of the Crown Prince's inner circle could not have happened without his direct knowledge.
Security camera images that purport to show the movements of Mutreb, one of 15 Saudi men believed by Turkish authorities to be connected to the disappearance and apparent death of Khashoggi, were published on Thursday, October 18, by a Turkish newspaper. The four images, which pro-government paper Sabah said it obtained from Turkish security sources, purportedly show Mutreb in Istanbul on October 2.
Turkish investigators continue to hunt for clues to what happened to Khashoggi amid growing indications that some of the men allegedly responsible for the journalist's killing have close ties to the highest levels of the Saudi government.
After more than two weeks, US President Donald Trump said on Thursday, October 18, that he now believes that Khashoggi was dead and warned of "very severe" consequences should Saudi Arabia be proven responsible.