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Turkish prosecutor: Jamal Khashoggi was strangled, dismembered as soon as he entered Saudi consulate

The head of the Saudi investigation into the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Attorney General Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb (left) leaves the Saudi Arabia consulate Tuesday in Istanbul. Turkey's public prosecutor announced that his country's investigation had determined that Khashoggi was strangled and dismembered as soon as he entered the Saudi consulate. (BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images)

On Wednesday, Turkey's public prosecutor announced that his country's investigation had determined that Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was strangled and dismembered as soon as he entered the Saudi consulate, the Washington Post reported.

What happened to Khashoggi?

Khashoggi walked into the Saudi consulate on Oct. 2 in Istanbul, to finalize his divorce so he could marry his fiancée. He was never seen again. As a columnist for the Washington Post, Khashoggi had frequently criticized the Saudi government and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Turkey was quick to place the blame for Khashoggi's disappearance on the Saudi government. The Saudis initially claimed that Khashoggi had exited the consulate alive, and expressed apparent concern over his whereabouts. It took weeks before they admitted that Khashoggi had been killed inside the embassy, although they continue to insist that the Saudi government had nothing to do with it.

According to an ABC News report on Tuesday, Khashoggi's fiancée said that Khashoggi had also entered the same consulate on Sept. 28 in order to request the documents. At the time, the consulate employees had welcomed him warmly. She said that this eased some of his fears about how he would be treated before the fatal consulate trip on Oct. 2.

CCTV footage given to CNN by the Turkish government on Oct. 22 shows a man with a similar height and build to Khashoggi enter the consulate shortly before Khashoggi did, and then exit wearing Khashoggi's clothes after he disappeared. This man then walked around the city before switching back into his own clothing. For unknown reasons, the Saudis did not end up using this footage to reinforce their claims of innocence.

What did the prosecutor say?

Turkish prosecutor Irfan Fidan said in a statement that Khashoggi had been  “strangled as soon as he entered the consulate. After being strangled, [Khashoggi's body] was subsequently destroyed by being dismembered, once again confirming the planning of the murder.”

According to the Post, the word used in Fidan's statement, “bogulmak,” can refer to either strangulation or suffocation.

The top Saudi prosecutor, Saud al-Mojeb, left Turkey on Monday after conducting an investigation of his own. However, an anonymous Turkish official told the Post that the Saudi delegation did not seem interested in figuring out what actually happened to Khashoggi. Instead, they seemed “primarily interested in finding out what evidence the Turkish authorities had against the perpetrators,” the official told the Post.

Has Saudi Arabia responded?

An unnamed Saudi official told the Post, "The public prosecutor has acknowledged seeing that information from the Turkish side. We have not said if that is true or not true. We are waiting for the results of the investigation."

What else?

While Turkey has been at the forefront of the Khashoggi investigation, its own government's track record when it comes to journalists is far from stellar. According to the nonprofit group, Committee to Protect Journalists, on Dec. 1, 2017, Turkey had 73 journalists in its prisons. At the time, Saudi Arabia had only seven.

One last thing…
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