By Associated Press
GENEVA — The gathering on the second floor of the Saudi consulate featured an unlikely collection: a forensic doctor, intelligence and security officers, agents of the crown prince’s office. As they waited for their target to arrive, one asked how they would carry out the body.
Not to worry, the doctor said: “Joints will be separated. It is not a problem,” he assured. “If we take plastic bags and cut it into pieces, it will be finished. We will wrap each of them.”
Their prey, Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, would not leave the consulate in Istanbul alive. And on Wednesday, more than eight months after his death, a U.N. special rapporteur revealed new details of the slaying — part of a report that insisted there was “credible evidence” to warrant further investigation and financial sanctions against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The report brought the grisly case back into the spotlight just as the prince and his country appeared to be emerging from the stain of the scandal. But it contained no smoking gun likely to cause President Donald Trump to abandon one of his closest allies — and none likely to send the crown prince before a tribunal.
And yet the details of the Oct. 2 killing were so chilling, and now so public, that it’s hard to fathom that there won’t be repercussions.
On the recording, apparently picked up by Turkish listening devices, intelligence officer Maher Mutreb is heard asking whether “the sacrificial animal” had entered the consulate, and a voice responds: “He has arrived.” (Khashoggi is never mentioned by name in the audio.)
Two minutes later, Khashoggi enters the consulate, hoping to collect a Saudi document that would let him wed his Turkish fiancee. He is led into the consul general’s office and told he has to return to Saudi Arabia.
Khashoggi protests: “I notified some people outside. They are waiting for me. A driver is waiting for me.”
“Let’s make it short,” the official tells him, adding: “Send a message to your son.”
“Which son? What should I say to my son?” Khashoggi asks.
“You will type a message. Let’s rehearse; show us,” the official says, prodding: “Type it, Mr. Jamal. Hurry up.”
Within minutes, the official loses patience and, the rapporteur said, apparently pulls out a syringe.
“Are you going to give me drugs?” Khashoggi asks.
“We will anesthetize you,” he is told.
Then came the sounds of struggle, “movement and heavy panting,” and finally — according to Turkish intelligence relayed in the report — the sounds of a saw.
He is believed to have been dismembered inside the consulate. His remains have never been found.
The nearly minute-by-minute narrative is part of a 101-page report from the U.N. special rapporteur for extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions. Agnes Callamard, who is not a United Nations staffer, launched her inquiry in January under her mandate from the U.N.-backed Human Rights Council.