Employees at the Saudi consulate in Turkey where journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered tampered with security camera footage in an attempt to cover up his death, according to a report from Turkish media out Tuesday.
Staff at the consulate allegedly tried to rip out a camera and also tamper with cameras at the security booth outside of the building, in the Turkish capital Istanbul. Turkish officials say Khashoggi was strangled and dismembered the moment he entered the building to get a document so he could marry his fiancée, who was waiting for him outside. Khashoggi’s body is still missing over a month after the murder.
The Oct. 2 death of the Washington Post columnist and prominent critic of the Saudi royal family has sparked international outrage, as the Saudis have changed their story several times and dragged their feet on an investigation. The revelations about the cameras are the latest in a pile of mounting evidence that Saudi officials are attempting to cover up Khashoggi’s murder. The day that Khashoggi was scheduled to visit the consulate, Turkish staff were reportedly told to take the day off. Mustafa al-Madani, allegedly part of a 15-man hit squad sent to kill Khashoggi, left the consulate wearing Khashoggi’s clothes and a fake beard and glasses. Turkish officials say he was a “body double” meant to create the illusion that Khashoggi had left the building.
On Oct. 20, Saudi officials finally admitted that Khashoggi was dead. The Saudi narrative surrounding his death has repeatedly shifted, with the government only recently acknowledging it was probably a premeditated murder. Initially, the Saudi state media said that a quarrel in the consulate led to “a fistfight that lead to his death.”
Khashoggi’s death has put a strain on the U.S.’s relations with Saudi Arabia. President Donald Trump has been reluctant to outright condemn Saudi Arabia’s royal family, as his administration has identified itself with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.
Cover: Security guards stand outside Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018. Saudi Arabia's attorney general is scheduled to arrive in Turkey on Sunday to hold talks with investigators looking into the slaying of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed in the kingdom's Istanbul consulate. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)