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FIRST WORD ON LAST MOMENTS

Jamal Khashoggi was strangled within moments of entering the Istanbul consulate

By Natasha Frost

In the first official statement on how Jamal Khashoggi died, Istanbul’s chief prosecutor reveals chilling details about the Washington Post journalist and Saudi dissident’s murder.

Khashoggi was strangled when he entered the Saudi consulate, Irfan Fidan said. His body was then dismembered and disposed of. It’s not clear precisely how this came to be known by the Turks, though a Turkish refusal to hand over dossiers comprising statements, footage and other evidence to Saudi authorities has created friction between the two countries. The location of his remains is still unknown, though Fidan said he had asked Saudi prosecutor Saud al-Mojeb to release their whereabouts.

“In accordance with plans made in advance, the victim, Jamal Khashoggi, was choked to death immediately after entering the Consulate General of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul on October 2,” the statement said. “The victim’s body was dismembered and destroyed following his death by suffocation—again, in line with advance plans.”

The statement makes a mockery out of already doubtful Saudi claims that Khashoggi died after a fight broke out in the consulate. The kingdom had originally claimed that he left the consulate unscathed: CCTV footage showed a doppelgänger in a fake beard wandering the city in the journalist’s clothes.

Fidan’s investigation has so far consisted of inspections at the kingdom’s consulate and meetings with Turkish intelligence officials, as well as the country’s public prosecutor. Whether his efforts to learn Khashoggi’s whereabouts, and who ordered his killing, will bear fruit remains to be seen.

The investigation is supposedly a collaborative effort between the two countries, but discussions with al-Mojeb did not yield any “concrete results,” Fidan said, despite Turkey’s “good-willed efforts” to understand what had happened. Reports from the private DHA news agency claim that al-Mojeb visited the Turkish intelligence agency’s headquarters in Istanbul.

Turkey has named 18 Saudi suspects currently detained in the country, and is seeking their extradition.