After Saudi Arabia released a statement on Friday claiming that Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed during a “fist fight,” only to see the story received with global disbelief and condemnation, as The Guardian reported — as well as calls for the Saudis to produce Khashoggi’s body, as the Inquisitr reported — Saudi officials on Saturday offered a new version of events to explain Khashoggi’s death and what became of his remains.
According to a Reuters report, the Saudis are now claiming that a group of Saudi agents showed up at the consulate to “confront” Khashoggi — who had recently become an outspoken critic of Saudi ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — and when he resisted he was placed in a chokehold, during which he accidentally died.
The Saudi agents then apparently panicked, according to the new version of the story. They rolled Khashoggi’s body up in a carpet and handed it over to “a local individual” to somehow dispose of the remains, according to a report by the online news source Spectator Index.
Critics have noted that the Saudi version of Khashoggi’s killing failed to explain why Dr. Salah al-Tubaigy — a military doctor who specialized in performing quick autopsies — was present at the supposed “interrogation.” Previous media accounts, as the Inquisitr reported, have said that al-Tubaigy had a bone saw with him and used it to carve Khashoggi’s body into pieces, beginning while the journalist was still alive.
But according to a New York Times report on Saturday, a Saudi official denied that al-Tubaigy possessed a bone saw and was present among the group of Saudi agents only to help clean up evidence if the Saudi agents’ cover was blown.
“The doctor ‘was added to the team as a forensic expert,’ the Saudi official said,” according to the Times report. “‘In case the team’s presence was revealed and the operation was compromised,’ the official said, Dr. Tubaigy was expected to remove incriminating details like fingerprints.”
As part of the cover-up, one of the Saudi “interrogation” team members dressed in Khashoggi’s clothes and exited the consulate, so he would be filmed on security cameras to create the appearance that Khashoggi was still alive, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
But while surveillance video of Khashoggi entering the consulate on October 2 has been made public, according to the investigative site Bellingcat, no video of Khashoggi, or anyone purporting to be him, exiting the compound has yet emerged.