Slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s chopped fingers were reportedly carried in a large bag to Mohammed bin Salman as a “macabre trophy,” reports the Middle East Eye. This is the same publication where Khashoggi published a number of his pieces critical of the Saudi Arabian administration under a pseudonym for fear of retribution.
Sources told the publication that bin Salman’s bodyguard, intelligence officer Maher Abdulaziz Mutrib, carried the fingers in a bag to Saudi Arabia as proof of the mission’s success. One source said that Mohammed bin Salman has repeatedly claimed in closed circles that he would like to cut off the fingers of all dissidents who are critical of his policies.
“MBS always said that he will cut off the fingers of every writer who criticizes him,” the source told the Middle East Eye, per a Mirror report.
Maher Abdulaziz Mutrib, the man reportedly tasked with bringing the fingers, was not checked by Turkish officials when he left for Saudi Arabia from Istanbul’s Ataturk airport.
This report comes out at the same time as revelations that Khashoggi’s remaining body parts have also been discovered, according to Sky News. One source told the publication that the “disfigured” and badly “cut up” body of the murdered journalist had been found in a well in the compound of the Saudi consul general’s home. The veracity of this claim cannot be independently verified.
This revelation flies in the face of Saudi rebuttals that Mohammed bin Salman had no inkling of the fate meted out to Khashoggi. The Saudi administration has attributed the killing to a group of rogue agents and a two-star general, but the official version has since undergone a number of changes. The inconsistencies in the account have left skeptics to conclude that the crown prince always knew about the plan and that it was approved by him.
Saudi Arabia has witnessed a lot of changes since Mohammed bin Salman took over the throne of the Wahhabi Islamic kingdom. While there has been a liberalization of policies which has seen women being granted the right to drive and the opening of cinemas, critics argue the superficial reforms hide the same brutal techniques deployed by the kingdom toward its dissidents for decades.
Jamal Khashoggi, while he was in the United States, repeatedly met with the Saudi ambassador to the U.S., Prince Khalid bin Salman, who reportedly urged the journalist to relocate to Saudi Arabia. But the journalist feared for his life and would not do so lest he is captured and killed.