Saudi Royal Family Accused Of Murdering Dissident Saudi Journalist Khashoggi
Dissident Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi was apparently murdered by a Saudi Arabian hit squad on orders of someone in the royal family of Saudi Arabia.
Citing Turkish authorities, The New York Times today published the stunning claim Khashoggi was murdered and dismembered by a Saudi hit squad consisting of 15 men. Turkish authorities confirmed that 15 Saudi nationals entered Turkey the same day Khashoggi was reported missing.
Khashoggi, 59, was likely tortured then murdered at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, Turkey sometime after Oct. 2 when he entered the consulate. His corpse was allegedly cut to pieces and smuggled out of Turkey protected by diplomatic immunity.
The plot to murder Khashoggi might also involve Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, who Khashoggi repeatedly criticized over the past year prior to his disappearance. Khashoggi has repeatedly lambasted the prince's reforms as hollow. He also accused the prince of introducing a new era of "fear, intimidation, arrests and public shaming."
The Times claims the Saudi assassins tortured Khashoggi for several days inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Citing unidentified American senior officials, the Times said among the assassination team was a forensic expert who used a bone saw to dismember Khashoggi's body
The hit squad finished the murder operation inside two hours and departed Turkey the same day, according to information the Times received from Turkish sources.
The Times also said U.S. intelligence intercepted communications of Saudi officials planning to abduct Khashoggi. The dissident journalist, who went into self-exile over a year ago out of fear for his life, visited the Saudi consulate to comply with the routine paperwork required of expatriates.
Video released by the consulate shows Khashoggi entering the consulate but never departing it. It's also unclear if the Saudis intended to arrest and interrogate Khashoggi or to kill him.
Sources said the Saudis wanted to lure Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia and "lay hands on him there." Something went wrong with this initial plan or a decision was made to eliminate Khashoggi immediately.
Saudi officials strongly denied any involvement in Khashoggi's disappearance and alleged murder. They claim he left the consulate on the same day he entered it. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has demanded Saudi Arabia prove Khashoggi's departure from the building, which isn't verified by video.
A Turkish newspaper with close ties to government has identified and published photos of the alleged 15-member Saudi assassination group. The Saudis are wanted by Turkish authorities for questioning.