Meshal Saad M. Albostani was one of the men wanted for questioning
One of the 15 Saudis who traveled to Turkey the same day Jamal Khashoggi vanished has been killed in a car crash, according to reports.
The man, who has been named as Meshal Saad M. Albostani, was one of the groups of men needed for questioning following the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul two weeks ago.
According to developing reports, Albostani who is a lieutenant of the Saudi Royal Air Force died in a ‘suspicious traffic accident’ in the Riyadh capital.
The report which was published by Yeni Safak is the same news outlet that reported what it said were details from audio recordings revealing Khashoggi’s interrogation and eventual torture at the Consulate building.
Despite the reports, Turkey is yet to share the audio evidence with the U.S. government or vital European allies.
CCTV images surfaced allegedly showing another of the 15 Saudis, Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, walking into the building at 9:55 am – the same day the journalist vanished after entering at 1.14pm the same day.
Yeni Safak reported that there were no further details of the deadly car crash, which allegedly left Albostani dead
Last week, Turkish newspaper Sabah released CCTV images of Albostani among a group of men who flew into Istanbul on the day Khashoggi went missing.
They were pictured arriving at Ataturk airport’s border control having flown into Turkey in two private jets from the Saudi capital Riyadh.
Meanwhile, a Saudi team investigating the disappearance has left the Saudi consul general’s residence in Istanbul, a Reuters witness said early on Thursday.
According to the DM: A group of Turkish police crime scene investigators had left the consul general’s residence earlier on Thursday after an almost nine-hour search at the premises.
Turkish investigators had also searched the Saudi consulate for some nine hours on Monday as part of the investigation.
Two weeks after the disappearance on October 2, the United States and allies have collected some intelligence through their own sources and methods, which partly confirms news reports based on leaks of audio recordings, four sources told Reuters.
This morning, images emerged in another pro-government Turkish newspaper purporting to show a man who previously traveled with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s entourage to the US entering the Saudi Consulate just before Khashoggi vanished.
The Sabah newspaper‘s report showed the man, named as Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, also later outside the Saudi consul general’s home, checking out of a Turkish hotel as a large suitcase stood by his side, and leaving Turkey on October 2.
The Sabah report showed the man walking past police barricades at the consulate at 9.55am with several men trailing behind him.
Khashoggi arrived at the consulate several hours later at 1.14pm, then disappeared while his fiancée waited outside for him.
Previously leaked surveillance footage showed consular vehicles moving from the consulate to the consul general’s official residence, some 1.2 miles away, a little under two hours after Khashoggi walked inside.
The Sabah newspaper showed an image of the man at 4.53 pm at the consul’s home, then at 515pm checking out of a hotel. He later cleared airport security at 5.58pm.
Images shot by the Houston Chronicle and later distributed by the AP show the same man was in Prince Mohammed’s entourage when he visited a Houston subdivision in April to see rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Harvey.
The same man wore lapel pins, including one of the flags of Saudi Arabia and America intertwined, that other bodyguards accompanying Prince Mohammed wore on the trip.
The three-week trip across the U.S. saw Prince Mohammed meet with business leaders and celebrities, including Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos, who now owns the Post.
Yeni Safak had reported that Khashoggi’s alleged torturers severed Khashoggi’s fingers during an interrogation and that he was killed within minutes.
According to the report, his body was later beheaded and dismembered by his killers.
A New York Times report on Wednesday cited a senior Turkish official confirming the details published by Yeni Safak. Two Turkish government officials contacted by Reuters declined to confirm the report.
Turkish sources told Reuters earlier this week that the authorities have an audio recording indicating that Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate and that they were sharing it with countries including Saudi Arabia and the United States.
The reluctance of the Turks to turn over hard evidence they have said they have documenting Khashoggi’s fate has led U.S. and European security officials to assess that the most brutal accounts of Khashoggi’s demise are likely accurate, the sources said.
U.S. President Donald Trump appeared to confirm the lack of evidence in U.S. hands when he said on Wednesday that the United States had asked Turkey for any audio or video evidence it may have related to Khashoggi.
‘We have asked for it, if it exists … I’m not sure yet that it exists, probably does, possibly does,’ Trump said.
‘I’ll have a full report on that from Mike (Pompeo) when he comes back … That’s going to be the first question I ask,’ he said.
Khashoggi, a prominent critic of Saudi policies and columnist for the Washington Post who was living in the United States, vanished after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 to get marriage documents.
Pompeo, the U.S. secretary of state, is due to return on Wednesday from a trip to Saudi Arabia and Turkey, where he met with leaders to discuss reports that Khashoggi was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Pompeo has said Riyadh should be given a few more days to complete an investigation into the disappearance of the journalist, a prominent critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Asked aboard his airplane whether he had heard any audio of Khashoggi’s capture, Pompeo declined to comment, but his spokeswoman later told reporters he had not.
The Saudis have strongly denied those allegations but U.S. media outlets have reported that they will acknowledge he was killed in a botched interrogation.