Saudi Operative Left Consulate In Jamal Khashoggi’s Clothing The Day He Died

People hold posters with photos of missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi
Chris McGrath / Getty Images

Following the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Arabian Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, there has been plenty of speculation as to what happened. Turkish officials have laid the blame solely at the feet of the Saudi Arabian government, claiming that a team of 15 assassins was flown into the city on private jets owned by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.

While the Saudis have taken responsibility for Khashoggi’s death, they have maintained that it was accidental and that they were only defending themselves against him.

New footage obtained by CNN shows one of the alleged assassins, Mustafa al-Madani, leaving the consulate shortly after Khashoggi’s death wearing the same clothing which the Washington Post columnist was wearing when he arrived at the consulate.

Al-Madani can be seen on surveillance video that was taken across the city, first departing through the back door of the consulate in Khashoggi’s clothing, glasses, and a fake beard. He was still wearing the shoes with which he entered the consulate. He was later spotted at the city’s famed Blue Mosque just two hours after Khashoggi’s disappearance.

Investigators in Turkey believe that al-Madani was part of the alleged hit squad that was flown in by the Saudis. Khashoggi had made an appointment at the consulate, where he needed to collect papers that were required in order for him to be able to marry his fiancee.

A Turkish official stated that al-Madani was used as a deliberate decoy after the murder in order to cover up Khashoggi’s disappearance inside the consulate. Al-Madani has a similar height and build of the journalist and is just two years younger. Saudi officials would not confirm this intended deception.

“You don’t need a body double for a rendition or an interrogation,” a senior Turkish official told CNN. “Our assessment has not changed since October 6. This was a premeditated murder and the body was moved out of the consulate.”

The Saudi government has continually shifted the blame for Khashoggi’s disappearance and death over the past few weeks since the journalist entered the consulate on October 2. His fiancee, who had been waiting for him outside the consulate, had eventually raised the alarm when he failed to return.

At first, the Saudi government denied any involvement in Khashoggi’s disappearance for the first two weeks. Then they confessed he had died inside the consulate, but that his death was the result of a “rogue” operation. They later came forward and offered up another explanation: The journalist had died in a “fistfight” as a result in a chokehold on him.

On Sunday, Saudi Arabian foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir described Khashoggi’s death as murder, saying it was a “tremendous mistake,” but adding that they had no idea where his body is.