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2019-09-11 10:39:251 Oct 2018 01:53 AM EST
After many hints on what Jamal Khashoggi's last moments were like nearly a year ago, the transcripts were released that reveal the horrors the Washington Post journalist went through before he was murdered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
On October 2 last year Khashoggi, a Saudi national, entered the consulate to get paperwork needed to marry his fiancée while she waited in the car. He was never seen again.
Turkish officials announced almost immediately that they believed he was murdered inside the consulate, dismembered in fact, because of audio they heard from the consulate. They also believed that high-ranking officials were behind the murder.
After an investigation, American intelligence believes the same thing and that quite possibly the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman himself was involved.The Saudis eventually admitted that 15 in their circle were involved but kept the prince out of any admission. That 15 have been on trial in the kingdom.
There was a 15-member team of Saudi officials who discussed in the audio what to do with Khashoggi's body before he arrived at the consulate, proving it was premeditated.
Twelve minutes before Khashoggi arrived, Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, a senior member of the team, asked "Is it possible to put the body in a bag?"
"No. Too heavy, very tall, too," said Dr. Salah Muhammed Tubaigy, a forensic chief at the Saudi General Security Department.
"I know how to cut very well," he added. "I have never worked on a warm body, though, but I'll also manage that easily. I normally put on my earphones and listen to music when I cut cadavers. In the meantime, I sip on my coffee and smoke. After I dismember it, you will wrap the parts into plastic bags, put them in suitcases, and take them out."
Turkish officials claim the team followed through with that plan and transported Khashoggi's remains in five suitcases, though his body, or pieces of it, have never been found.
Once Khashoggi arrived at the consulate, he was instructed to send a text message to his son. Mutreb said, "Write something like, 'I'm in Istanbul. Don't worry if you cannot reach me.' "
"How can such a thing take place at a consulate?" asked Khashoggi. "I'm not writing anything."
"Write it, Mr. Jamal. Hurry up. Help us so we can help you, because in the end we will take you back to Saudi Arabia, and if you don't help us, you know what will happen eventually," responded Mutreb.
"There is a towel here. Will you have me drugged?" pondered Khashoggi.
Tubaigy offered, "We will put you to sleep."
A plastic bag was then put over Khashoggi's head, and the team suffocated him while scuffling and struggling could be heard, as well as a few commands, including, "Keep pushing" and "push it well."
The journalists last words were, "I have asthma. Do not do it, you will suffocate me."
A bone saw is heard shortly afterward in the video.
A United Nations special investigator wrote in a June report that the murder was perpetrated at the highest levels of the Saudi power structure and required further investigation of senior officials, including the crown prince.
Saudi Arabia said the report was based on "many unfounded accusations" and questioned the "impartiality and lack of objectivity of the report," as well as its author, U.N. Special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions Agnés Callamard.
"The kingdom will never accept any attempt to harm its sovereignty and that it categorically rejects any attempt to derail this issue away from the kingdom's justice system or any attempt to influence it in any way, said Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al Jubeir.
Donald Trump has never publicly accepted the role of the Saudis in the murder either, at one point saying he didn't want to jeopardize the multi-billion-dollar arms deal the U.S. had with the Saudis. For the most part, he just accepts their shifting of the blame.
"We continue to urge the Saudi government to ascertain all the facts and hold those responsible for the murder accountable. We are awaiting conclusion of the criminal trial in Riyadh," said a State Department spokesperson on Tuesday.
"If additional facts come to light, we will consider further measures."
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