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Saudis Sent Experts to Remove Evidence of Khashoggi’s Killing, Turkey Says

The Saudi cleanup team arrived in Istanbul on Oct. 11, nine days after Mr. Khashoggi’s death, and visited the consulate every day from Oct. 12 to Oct. 17, according to Sabah. Turkish investigators were not allowed into the consulate, which is considered Saudi sovereign territory, until Oct. 15. Sabah published photographs of Mr. Jonabi and Mr. Zahrani emerging from the entrance of the consulate and also published photographs that the newspaper’s investigative editor, Abdurrahman Simsek, said were head shots from cameras at airport passport control.

The men arrived on the same day as a Saudi delegation that met with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Oct. 11, as Turkish officials demanded to know what had happened to Mr. Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi government who lived in the United States and wrote opinion articles for The Washington Post. He had entered the consulate on Oct. 2 for a prearranged meeting to collect papers that would allow him to marry his Turkish fiancé, and was never seen again.

When the group identified as a cleanup team was in Turkey, Saudi officials were still insisting that Mr. Khashoggi, 59, had left the consulate safely, and that they did not know where he was. They later acknowledged that he had been killed in the consulate, at first describing his death as the accidental result of a fight, and later calling it premeditated.

Turkey has identified a team of 15 Saudi officials that it has accused of being the perpetrators of the murder, who arrived in Turkey in the hours before Mr. Khashoggi’s disappearance and left the same day. Some of the 15 turned out to be security officers close to Prince Mohammed, and included a top forensic specialist.

The Khashoggi case has worsened Saudi relations with not only Turkey, but also with the United States and some of its closest allies, particularly in Europe. It has also increased attention on Saudi Arabia’s role in the civil war in Yemen, where civilian casualties continue to climb, leading to calls in the West to stop arms sales to the Saudis.

The United Nations review of Saudi Arabia’s human rights record included demands for a transparent investigation into the killing, but representatives of several countries took a broader approach to criticizing the kingdom. They pointed to Saudi Arabia’s frequent and increasing use of capital punishment, including for nonviolent offenses, and accused the Saudis of executing people for political or religious dissent.

Source: NYT > World

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