TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – Five Turkish employees of the Saudi consulate in Istanbul are giving statements as witnesses under an investigation into the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Turkish broadcaster NTV said on Monday.
Twenty consulate workers gave statements to prosecutors in relation to the incident last week, NTV reported, according to Reuters.
Khashoggi went missing on Oct. 2 when he entered the consulate in Istanbul. After weeks of denying knowledge of his fate, Saudi officials said the prominent journalist was killed in what they describe as “rogue operation”.
After denying any involvement in the disappearance of Khashoggi, 59, for two weeks, Saudi Arabia on Saturday morning said he had died in a fistfight at the consulate. An hour later, another Saudi official attributed the death to a chokehold, which the senior official reiterated.
Turkish officials suspect the body of Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and critic of powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was cut up but the Saudi official said it was rolled up in a rug and given to a “local cooperator” for disposal. Asked about allegations that Khashoggi had been tortured and beheaded, he said preliminary results of the investigation did not suggest that.
The disappearance of Khashoggi has snowballed into a massive crisis for the kingdom, forcing the 82-year-old monarch, King Salman, to personally get involved. It has threatened the kingdom’s business relationships, with several senior executives and government officials shunning an investor conference in Riyadh scheduled for Tuesday and some US lawmakers putting pressure on Trump to impose sanctions and stop arms sales to Saudi Arabia.