March 20, 2019

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Video on Turkish TV Is Said to Show Khashoggi’s Remains Being Moved

Video on Turkish TV Is Said to Show Khashoggi’s Remains Being Moved
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A Turkish television network broadcast video on Monday showing men with suitcases supposedly containing the remains of Jamal Khashoggi, the dissident writer killed by Saudi agents in October.

After weeks of shifting stories about Mr. Khashoggi’s disappearance, Saudi Arabia said that its agents had killed him in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul during a botched mission to take him back to the kingdom.

The Saudi account of the killing has continued to change since then, without providing clues about an enduring mystery of the murder: What happened to Mr. Khashoggi’s remains?

Turkish officials have said that Saudi agents disassembled Mr. Khashoggi’s body with a bone saw, and probably carried the remains out of the consulate in suitcases.

Investigators have conducted searches at a sprawling, Saudi-owned villa on the coast south of Istanbul and elsewhere in the city, but so far have been unable to find the remains.

Speculation has filled the vacuum. In November, an adviser to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey suggested to the newspaper Hurriyet that the body had been dismembered “to dissolve it easier.”

On Monday, the Turkish network A Haber broadcast video showing the entrance to the gated residence of Saudi Arabia’s consul general in Istanbul, not far from the Saudi Consulate. The footage shows men, their faces obscured by shadow, carrying several large suitcases or bags inside the building.

There was no way to immediately verify the video, though its release fits a monthslong pattern of leaks by Turkish officials, who have said they have audio and video evidence of a gruesome murder. According to Turkish officials, the recordings show that Mr. Khashoggi was beaten, tortured and dismembered.

Americans familiar with the evidence have said that member of the Saudi team can be heard telling a superior over the phone to “tell your boss” that the mission was completed. That is believed to be a reference to the Saudi crown prince.

Saudi Arabia says it arrested 18 men in connection with the killing, some with close ties to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto ruler of the kingdom. Saudi officials have rejected accusations that the prince played a role in the killing, saying he had no knowledge of it.

Though Turkish authorities have stopped short of saying there was definitive proof that Prince Mohammed was responsible, American intelligence officials have concluded that he ordered the killing, based in part on intercepted phone calls.

Mr. Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post and a legal resident of the United States, was a critic of the crown prince. The killing has drawn international attention to Prince Mohammed’s crackdown on criticism — and his ruthless ascent and brutal campaign in Yemen — and strained Saudi Arabia’s relations with the West.

In November, the Saudi public prosecutor’s office said that the decision to mutilate Mr. Khashoggi’s body was made at the spur of the moment, so that it could be removed from the consulate. The prosecutor’s account again changed the Saudi version of events. It claimed that a dose of a tranquilizer had killed the journalist — not strangulation, as officials had previously said.

Saudi officials have said that their agents gave the body to a local collaborator, whose name they did not disclose, and that they do not know what became of it.

The Saudi Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.



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