Experts Reveal 'Chilling' Discussions on Jamal Khashoggi Just Before he Was Murdered

Published September 30th, 2019 - 12:14 GMT
Two experts who have listened to the recordings have revealed the 'chilling' and 'callous' discussions the killers had before and after the murder.

The killers of journalist Jamal Khashoggi were heard laughing moments before he entered the Saudi consulate and was murdered by a hit squad, it has been revealed.

The Washington Post columnist was executed in Istanbul after visiting his country's embassy to collect divorce papers.

In the days following his disappearance on October 2 last year, the Saudi and Turkish authorities issued contradictory statements about how he died and who was responsible. 

But unbeknown to the Saudis, their consulate was bugged by Turkish intelligence, meaning that much of the planning and execution of his assassination was recorded.

Two experts who have listened to the recordings have revealed the 'chilling' and 'callous' discussions the killers had before and after the murder.

In one part of the tape they can reportedly be heard laughing and joking before Khashoggi entered the room.

According to a UN report published earlier this year the writer, who has been critical of the Saudi government, was drugged with a sedative and suffocated with a plastic bag.

In a BBC Panorama episode to be aired this evening to mark one year on from the brutal murder, human rights expert Agnes Callamard, who wrote the UN report, and British criminal barrister Helena Kennedy discuss what they heard on the covert tapes. 

Very few people have heard these chilling recordings that reveal the details of what happened to Khashoggi, the hit squad sent to kill him and the cover-up that followed.

News programmes worldwide showed CCTV images of the last time Khashoggi was seen alive as he entered the consulate building. 

But the tapes reveal the disturbing conversations happening inside at that very moment between the leader of the operation, Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, and a forensic pathologist, Dr Salah al Tubaigy.

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Speaking to Panorama, Kennedy describes Tubaigy talking about what is going to happen to Khashoggi: 'It's just so cold and callous. He says ''it's the first time in my life that I'll have had to cut pieces on the ground. Even if you're a butcher and you want to cut…he hangs the animal up to do so''. 

'You can hear them laughing. It's a sort of chilling business. They're waiting there knowing that this man is going to come in and he's going to be murdered.'

Khashoggi is heard on the tapes being greeted by his killers as he arrives at the Saudi consulate.

Kennedy adds: 'There was a point where you can hear Khashoggi moving from being a man who's a confident person, towards a sense of fear; a sense of anxiety; rising anxiety; rising terror and then knowing that something fatal is about to happen'.

While Khashoggi was inside the building his Turkish fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, was outside waiting for his return. 

Callamard said it is possible Khashoggi believed he was only going to be abducted rather than murdered. 

She added: 'I don't know whether he thinks he could be killed. He certainly thinks that they could try to abduct him. 

'He's asking 'are you going to do that to me? Are you going to give me an injection?... The sounds that are heard after that point indicate that he's suffocated, probably with a plastic bag over his head.'

Just 30 minutes after Khashoggi entered the consulate, his body was being dismembered by Tubaigy. 

Kennedy added: 'You hear a voice saying ''let him cut''… and then somebody shouting ''it's over, it's over''.'

The recordings also refute the Saudis claim that Khashoggi's death was a rogue operation, with the tapes exposing several phone calls in the days leading up to the murder that set the plan in motion.

Kennedy says: 'There is no doubt in my mind that this was a seriously, highly organised mission coming from the top. This was not some flaky maverick operation'.

This article has been adapted from its original source.

© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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