An unnamed senior Turkish official has told CNN that one of the 15-man hit squad that allegedly murdered Jamal Khashoggi was a doppelgänger who left the Saudi Consulate in the slain reporters’ clothes moments after the killing.
“You don’t need a body double for a rendition or an interrogation,” the official reportedly told CNN. “Our assessment has not changed since October 6. This was a premeditated murder and the body was moved out of the consulate.”
Surveillance footage allegedly provided by Turkish authorities to CNN purports to show Khashoggi’s lookalike, named as Mustaka al-Madani, leaving the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul via the rear entrance, wearing the journalist’s own clothes that he wore on October 2. Madani also dons a fake beard and glasses to appear more like his alleged victim.
Four hours before the killing, al-Madani was seen entering the consulate building beardless, wearing a blue and white checked shirt and dark blue trousers but, moments after the incident, al-Madani can be seen wearing what appears to be Khashoggi’s own dark blazer, open-collared grey shirt and trousers.
“Khashoggi’s clothes were probably still warm when Madani put them on,” the senior Turkish official told CNN.
Madani, 57, is of similar age and build to Khashoggi, 59, and was reportedly brought in as a decoy to throw Turkish investigators off the killers’ trail.
However, in the footage, Madani is wearing the same sneakers he had on prior to entering the consulate that do not match Khashoggi’s outfit. He then later appears at the city’s famous Blue Mosque, a popular tourist destination where he could blend in with the crowd, before changing back into his own clothes.
Additional surveillance footage allegedly shows Madani’s accomplices dumping Khashoggi’s clothes in a dumpster elsewhere in the city.
So far, the Saudis’ explanation for what fate befell Khashoggi has changed multiple times, having initially claimed his death was the result of a fistfight at the consulate, before claiming he had been placed in a chokehold and died accidentally, and later admitting that the journalist’s death was indeed murder and a “tremendous mistake.”
Khashoggi’s remains have yet to be found as pressure mounts on the Saudi government to clarify the circumstances of the dissident, vocal al-Saud critic and Washington Post journalist’s death.
Authorities in Turkey have yet to confirm or deny the existence of a rumored audio recording of the killing from inside the consulate.
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