Turkey has another recording of Khashoggi murder - columnist

Turkish authorities have another audio recording of the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi contradicting Saudi prosecutor's statements, wrote journalist Abdulkadir Selvi in the Hürriyet newspaper on Friday. 

Selvi, known for his close contacts with Turkey’s political elite, said Turkey had more evidence, including a second, longer audio recording that contradicts with key findings of the Saudi public prosecutor’s indictment against the suspected murderers of Khashoggi. 

Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor said earlier on Thursday that it had sought the death penalty for five of the 11 suspects charged in the murder of Khashoggi. 

The journalist was killed by lethal injection inside the country’s Istanbul consulate on Oct. 2 after a struggle, and his body was later dismembered, according to the Saudi prosecutor.

According to the Saudi prosecutor the team members, who killed Khashoggi, were in the consulate to persuade him to return to the kingdom.

According to Selvi, a number of conclusions and evidence available to Turkish investigators refute some of the arguments of the Saudi prosecutor.

“Khashoggi’s desperate attempts to survive could be heard in a seven-minute audio recording. There is no hint of anyone trying to persuade him,” Selvi said. 

“Turkish officials also did not confirm (Saudi prosecutor’s statements) that Khashoggi was killed after they gave him a fatal dose of drug. They say that he was strangled with a rope or something like a plastic bag.” 

Another tape, Selvi said, was recorded 15 minutes before Khashoggi arrived the consulate. In this 15-minute recording, the Saudi team discusses how to execute Khashoggi, and they are reviewing their plan, which was previously prepared and reminding themselves of the duties of each member, according to the columnist. 

There are other hints suggesting that the murder was planned, as a forensics official whose expertise is dismembering bodies quickly was in the Saudi hit squad came to Turkey for the murder, Hürriyet said. 

Khashoggi, a contributor to the Washington Post, was living in self-imposed exile in the United States and Turkey since he turned from a loyalist of the Saudi royal court into a critic after Prince Mohammed bin Salman became the crown prince in 2017.