By Isha Sesay • 23 December 2019 • 11:53
FIVE people have been sentenced to death over the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi journalist who went missing inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October of last year.
Three more people were also handed jail terms totalling 24 years in a trial that was carried out in total secrecy after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman drew international condemnation for the murder.
Officials from Saudi Arabia had offered a number of different explanations as to what happened to the journalist in the weeks after his death, but eventually laid the responsibility on 11 rogue officials whose names have been kept secret.
However, it was concluded that the crown prince’s former top adviser, Saud al-Qahtani, had no involvement in the killing as well as the Saudi consul-general in Istanbul, Mohammed al-Otaibi.
Mr Khashoggi, a 59-year-old Saudi dissident and US resident who was employed by the Washington Post, had walked into the Saudi consulate to obtain documents that he needed to get married. Tragically, once inside, he was drugged and suffocated in a brutal murder before his body was then dismembered.
Recordings made during the horrifying attack obtained by Turkish intelligence sources revealed Mr Khashoggi’s final words were a plea to his killers not to cover his mouth because he suffered from asthma and could potentially suffocate.
Also included in the transcript were gruesome discussions of how the journalist would be killed and that his body would be sawed into pieces. Minutes before the journalist arrived at the consulate, Dr Salah Muhammed Al-Tubaigy, the head of forensic evidence at the Saudi General Security Department, was recorded saying:
“Actually, I’ve always worked on cadavers. I know how to cut very well. I have never worked on a warm body though, but I’ll also manage that easily.
“I normally put on my earphones and listen to music when I cut cadavers. In the meantime, I sip on my coffee and smoke.
“After I dismember it, you will wrap the parts into plastic bags, put them in suitcases and take them out.”
A report into Mr Khashoggi’s murder by the United Nations blamed the Saudi state for his death, and said that the crown prince’s possible role should be examined. Sadly, for the victim’s family and friends, his remains have never been found.
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