Footage from surveillance cameras near the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul reportedly captured one of the suspected killers of journalist Jamal Khashoggi walking around dressed in Khashoggi’s clothes, presumably to hide his murder.
The team of 15 allegedly dispatched by the Saudi government to kill Khashoggi, 59, included a body double who was seen on surveillance cameras hours after he was killed, CNN reported, citing a senior Turkish official. The man, identified as Mustafa al-Madani, is said to have left the consulate through a back door and worn Khashoggi’s clothes, a fake beard, and glasses.
Khashoggi, an exiled Saudi dissident and Washington Post columnist, entered the consulate on October 2 to finalize divorce paperwork so he could marry his fiancée and apparently never left.
After days of mounting outrage during which it had denied any knowledge of Khashoggi’s fate and claimed he had left the consulate unharmed through a back door, Saudi Arabia on Saturday changed its story, saying that he’d been killed in a fistfight after entering the building. The next day, a Saudi official reportedly said that Khashoggi was killed accidentally by a chokehold after he refused Saudi orders.
State media said the investigation is ongoing and 18 Saudis have been arrested in connection to the incident.
“This was an operation that was a rogue operation. This was an operation where individuals ended up exceeding the authorities and responsibilities they had,” said Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, who called it a “huge and grave mistake.”
Khashoggi’s disappearance caused international outrage, with some critics pressuring President Trump to adopt a tougher stance toward the U.S.’s longtime ally.
Trump said he is not considering canceling multi-billion-dollar arms deals with Saudi Arabia, but warned of “very severe” consequences if the government is found to have murdered Khashoggi.