Saudis sent ‘cleaners’ to Istanbul 9 days after Khashoggi murder: Report
A Saudi team including a chemist and a toxicologist was sent to Istanbul to spoil evidence nine days after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a Turkish media report said Nov. 5.
Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and a critic of Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, was killed inside his country’s consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 after he went there to get documents for his upcoming marriage.
According to Sabah newspaper, an 11-person Saudi team arrived in Istanbul on Oct. 11, including chemist Abdulaziz Aljanobi and toxicology expert Khaled Yahya Al Zahrani.
“The team came to Istanbul not to shed light on the murder but to spoil evidence,” the report said, citing unidentified security sources.
The two experts, whom the newspaper described as “cleaners,” reportedly visited their country’s consulate every day for a week, before leaving Turkey on Oct. 17.
Saudi Arabia had refused Turkey’s requests to search the diplomatically-protected consulate until Oct. 17, when they finally allowed it.
After a weeks-long denial, Saudi Arabia admitted on Oct. 25 that the journalist had fallen victim to a premeditated killing in the building.
Saudi Arabia also arrested 18 people, including all the members of the 15-member Saudi “hit squad” who were sent to Istanbul before the murder, but the question about the whereabouts of Khashoggi’s body remains unanswered.
A Turkish official had told the Washington Post on Oct. 31 that Khashoggi’s body was destroyed in acid on the grounds of the Saudi Consulate or at the nearby residence of the Saudi consul general.