Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. File picture: Hasan Jamali/AP Photo.
Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. File picture: Hasan Jamali/AP Photo.

One month on, where is Jamal Khashoggi's body?

Time of article published Nov 1, 2018

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Istanbul - After weeks of grisly rumours, Turkey's chief prosecutor has confirmed that journalist Jamal Khashoggi was strangled and dismembered as soon as he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul one month ago.

But, as Saudi Arabia faces a torrent of international condemnation over the murder of the royal insider-turned-critic, the location of his body remains a mystery.

Here is what we know so far.

- 'Destroyed' -

After initially insisting Khashoggi left the consulate unharmed, then saying he died in a brawl, the Saudi regime has admitted he was killed by a "rogue operation" on October 2.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says a 15-person team came from Riyadh for the premeditated hit.

The Turkish prosecutor's office revealed in a statement on Wednesday that after the body was cut into pieces it was "destroyed", but did not say how.

- 'Not in need of burying' -

After the statement was released, a Turkish official told the Washington Post -- for which Khashoggi was a contributor -- that authorities are investigating a theory the body was destroyed in acid, either in the consulate or the Saudi consul's nearby residence.

The official was cited as saying that "biological evidence" found in the consulate's garden indicated the body was likely disposed of near where Khashoggi was killed.

"Khashoggi's body was not in need of burying," the official told the US newspaper on the condition of anonymity.

- 'Local co-conspirators'? -

A stream of reports in Turkey's pro-government media -- often sourcing anonymous Turkish officials -- have laid out a number of theories about the murder and its aftermath.

Some claimed the body was wrapped up in a rug to be transported from the scene, while others said the hit squad carried the dismembered corpse away in several bags.

There have also been reports -- citing an unnamed Saudi official -- that the team handed the body over to a local Turkish collaborator, who then disposed of it.

Erdogan has repeatedly called on Riyadh to identify any such "local co-conspirators". 

However the Saudi chief prosecutor, who visited Istanbul this week, said Saudi authorities had made no such statement about local collaborators, according to the Istanbul prosecutor's office.

- The forest and the well -

The search for the body has generated much excitement in the press, but few results -- at least that have been made public.

Turkish police first searched the consulate and the Saudi consul general's residence, then hunted for evidence in a vast forest on the fringes of Istanbul.

They also investigated an abandoned car belonging to the Saudi consulate in an underground car park in Istanbul.

Saudi authorities denied Turkish police permission to search a well in the garden of the consulate, but did allow them to take water samples for analysis, local media reported.

Turkish investigators have also used a robotic arm to inspect the sewers around the consulate.

- 'We don't know where the body is' -

Saudi Arabia, for its part, has kept quiet on the location of the body as Turkey and the international community demand answers.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said on October 21 that a "tremendous mistake" had been made and those responsible would be punished -- 18 suspects have been arrested in Riyadh.

"We don't know where the body is," he said.


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