The following dialogue took place between journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the “negotiation” team before he was killed in the Saudi Arabian Consulate in Istanbul on 2 October last year.
The report, which was published by Turkish newspaper Sabah, disclosed part of the audio recordings of what happened inside the Consulate. This is the first time audio recordings depicting what happened to Khashoggi are being published.
According to the recordings, one of the members of the enforcement team asked, “Has the sacrificial animal arrived?” This was followed by a member of the team asking, “Will the body fit inside the bag?”
The newspaper pointed out that the conversation took place inside the Saudi Consulate at 1:02pm, 12 minutes before Khashoggi’s arrival to sort out some legal documents for his intended marriage. The conversation brought two interlocutors together, namely the head of the negotiating delegation Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, and his colleague Salah Mohammed Al-Tubaigy, who apparently dismembered the journalist’s body.
The dialogue between the Mutreb and Al-Tubaiqy was as follows:
Mutreb: “Is it possible to put the body in the bag?”
Al-Tubaiqy: “No, it is too heavy and tall. I have been constantly working with bodies. I know how to cut them properly. I have never worked on a living body, but I can handle it easily… After cutting the body… put it inside the bags then suitcases to take it out.”
At the end of the conversation, Al-Tubaiqy asked: “Has the sacrificial animal arrived?” At 1:14pm, one of the enforcement team said that Khashoggi had indeed arrived.
On his arrival at the Consulate, Khashoggi was welcomed by someone who seemed familiar to him, according to the audio recordings. At the external door, Khashoggi was told that, “The Consul General is waiting for you there.”
The newspaper pointed out that the one welcoming the journalist was very nice and invited him to accompany him to the second floor of the Consulate. As he was apparently holding Khashoggi’s arm, the journalist started to become suspicious, and said: “Let go of my hand… What are you doing?”
Once Khashoggi was inside the room, Mutreb stood and told him, “Come and sit down. We were forced to come here and take you back to Riyadh in response to Interpol. They want us to escort you.”
“There is no case against me,” Khashoggi told Mutreb. “My fiancée is waiting for me outside.”
The newspaper clarified that the recordings marked another voice of an anonymous member of the team, who was not identified as Mutreb, but rather as the “bad cop” in the negotiation process, for he said from time to time, “Let’s finish this.”
At 1:22pm, Mutreb asked Khashoggi whether he had a phone. Khashoggi answered: “Yes, I have two phones.” Mutreb asked about the brand and Khashoggi replied “iPhone”.
According to Sabah, ten minutes before Khashoggi’s murder, the following dialogue took place:
Mutreb: “Send a message to your son.”
Khashoggi: “What shall I say to my son?”
Mutreb: “Type the message… and let me see it.”
Khashoggi asked again: “What shall I text him? We will meet soon?”
One member of the negotiating team intervened and said: “Let’s finish this.”
Mutreb told Khashoggi: “Tell him the following — ‘I’m in Istanbul. If you cannot reach me, do not worry’ — Type this.”
Khashoggi: “I cannot say that. This is a kidnapping.”
One member of the negotiating team told him: “Take off your jacket.”
Khashoggi: “How can this happen in the Consulate? I will not write anything.”
Unknown negotiating member: “Let’s finish this.”
Khashoggi: “I will write nothing.”
Mutreb intervened again, saying: “Type, Mr Jamal… Hurry up. Help us so we can help you, because we will eventually return to Saudi Arabia. If you do not help us you know very well what will happen to you in the end.”
Khashoggi must have looked at the table and then said: “There is a towel here. Are you going to give me medicine?”
Mutreb: “We will anaesthetise you.”
After giving Khashoggi a drug and before he lost consciousness, he cried: “I have asthma. Don’t do it. You are strangling me.”
Those were Khashoggi’s last words. The killers then put a bag over his head and suffocated him, the newspaper alleges.
According to the audio recordings, team members had a noisy discussion when putting the bag on Khashoggi’s head:
“Was he anaesthetised?”
“He raised his head.”
“Do not stop.”
“Keep pressing further.”
The newspaper pointed out that at the moment when Khashoggi was about to die, a deep, sniffing voice was heard on the recordings.
It added that after Khashoggi’s murder, the sounds of the dismemberment of his body were heard. At 1:39pm, the sound of the chainsaw being used on the body could be heard. The brutal operation lasted about half an hour.
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