Saudi sent ‘cover-up team’ to erase Khashoggi murder evidence

Istanbul [Turkey]: An 11-member ‘cover-up team’ was deployed by Saudi Arabia in order to wipe the evidence related to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and dispose of his body.

On Monday, Al Jazeera cited Turkish newspaper Sabah stating that the ‘cover-up team’, which arrived here on October 11, included a toxicology expert and a chemist.

Chemist Ahmad Abdulaziz al-Janobi and Khaled Yahya al-Zahrani, the toxicology expert, were part of “the so-called investigative team,” and made daily visits to the consulate until October 17 before they departed from Turkey on October 20, the report claimed.

This development may provide clarification regarding why Turkish police officers were not allowed to investigate the consulate till October 15.

While Saudi has acknowledged that the murder was premeditated, there has been no confirmation on the body of the 59-year old former Washington Post journalist.

Chief Turkish prosecutor Ifran Fidan had claimed last week that Khashoggi was strangled to death soon after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. He also alleged that the body was dismembered and destroyed.

Meanwhile, Yasin Aktay, an advisor to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has indicated towards the possibility of the body having been dissolved in acid.
Turkish authorities have repeatedly accused Riyadh of causing hindrance in the ongoing investigations into the case by denying key pieces of evidence, with Erdogan calling upon the Gulf country to expose the people who sanctioned the murder.

While Erdogan said in a Washington Post editorial that he did “not believe for a second” that King Salman was behind the murder, he did not clearly say the same about Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Riyadh has arrested 18 officials who were allegedly linked to the plan to murder Khashoggi.

Khashoggi went missing on October 2, after stepping into Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul to collect documents that would allow him to marry fiancee Hatice Cengiz, who was waiting outside the consulate. Cengiz raised an alarm after Khashoggi failed to re-emerge from the Saudi consulate.