Middle East

Jamal Khashoggi’s last words disclosed in transcript, source tells CNN

CCTV shows Jamal Khashoggi entering Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October (AFP/file photo)

"I can't breathe," were the final words uttered by Jamal Khashoggi after he was set upon by a Saudi hit squad at the country's consulate in Istanbul on 2 October, a source told CNN.

The source, who has read a translated transcript of an audio recording of Khashoggi's painful last moments, said it was clear the killing was no botched rendition attempt, but the execution of a premeditated plan to murder the journalist, CNN said.

The source describes Khashoggi struggling against a group of people determined to kill him.

"I can't breathe," Khashoggi says, three times.

The transcript notes the sounds of Khashoggi's body being dismembered by a saw, as the alleged perpetrators are advised to listen to music to block out the sound, CNN said.

And, according to the source, the transcript suggests a series of phone calls are made, briefing on progress of the operation. Turkish officials believe the calls were made to senior figures in Riyadh.

Some of the details in the transcript seen by CNN's source have emerged in previous reports of the recording's content, but this is the fullest account of the transcript that has so far been published.

A transcript of an audio recording of Jamal Khashoggi's painful last moments capture a gruesome scene, says a source who has read it https://t.co/oDrtm7tPPW pic.twitter.com/EGGWesEjrp

— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) December 9, 2018

The office of a US senator who has received a briefing on the investigation by CIA Director Gina Haspel, told CNN that the source's recollections of the transcript are "consistent" with that briefing.

The original transcript of the audio was prepared by Turkish intelligence services, CNN said. Turkish officials have never said how they obtained the audio.

Turkey has a complete record of communications in and out of Saudi Arabia's Istanbul consulate in the week of Jamal Khashoggi's murder, a senior Turkish source recently told Middle East Eye.

These recordings, MEE reported earlier, have given Turkey a detailed picture of the various operatives, teams and missions issued from Saudi Arabia.

Still, the administration of US President Donald Trump has so far pledged to remain a steadfast supporter of the Saudi government, including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), the country's de facto leader, despite the murder of Khashoggi.


Jared Kushner still defended Saudi crown prince after Khashoggi murder: Report

The case has highlighted growing tensions between the Trump administration and the CIA, which concluded last month that MBS ordered Khashoggi's murder.

Trump has repeatedly cast doubts over the US intelligence agency's assessment, while Saudi officials have repeatedly denied that the crown prince had any knowledge of Khashoggi's murder or its subsequent cover-up.

White House senior adviser and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner maintained informal contact with MBS and publicly defended him after the killing of Khashoggi, the New York Times reported on Saturday, citing two former senior American officials and the two people briefed by the Saudis.

As the murder of the Saudi journalist set off a media firestorm and American intelligence agencies concluded that it was ordered by MBS, Kushner became the princes primary defender inside the White House, people familiar with its internal deliberations told the Times.

Still, a bipartisan group of senior US senators last week introduced a resolution denouncing MBS for his alleged role in the murder of Khashoggi, as well as the war in Yemen and Riyadh's diplomatic standoff with Qatar.

The bill needs a simple majority to pass, though it is largely symbolic as it does not impose any sanctions or legal repercussions on MBS or Saudi Arabia generally.

Original Article


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