Guardian News and Media/Istanbul
Newly leaked CCTV footage has emerged that appears to show a man leaving the Saudi consulate in Istanbul wearing the clothes of the murdered Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
CNN aired the footage yesterday, citing a Turkish official who identified the man as Mustafa al-Madani, a “body double” and member of a 15-man Saudi team sent to Istanbul to target Khashoggi.
The agent, wearing glasses and a fake beard in an apparent attempt to further resemble the journalist, is seen touring a number of landmarks in the Turkish city after leaving the consulate.
The apparent Saudi aim was for footage of the man to be picked up by CCTV and distributed, thereby bolstering claims made in the days after Khashoggi’s disappearance on October 2 that he had left the consulate unscathed.
The spokesman for Turkey’s ruling AK party yesterday said it was Turkey’s responsibility to uncover the truth, telling reporters it was a “complicated” murder that had been “monstrously planned”. Saudi Arabia has never produced any CCTV footage of the body double to support its initial claim Khashoggi had left the consulate alive, and either Saudi officials realised the story would not be credible or had been waiting for Turkish officials to be tricked by the ruse.
The footage was handed to the CNN news channel by Turkish authorities.
The CCTV leak of the apparent use of a body double is significant because it appears to bolster Turkish claims that the Saudis always intended either to kill Khashoggi or move him back to Saudi Arabia.
The footage appears to show the Saudi agent entering the consulate without a beard and wearing a blue and white checked shirt and dark blue trousers.
Footage from later in the day appears to show him leaving the consulate dressed as Khashoggi, but wearing the same pair of trainers that he had arrived in.
Turkish police were continuing a search of the Belgrad forest north of Istanbul yesterday, after investigators last week expanded their search to the forest and farmland in Yavlova province, a 90-minute drive south,on the other side of the Marmara Sea.
Two security cameras monitored the entrance to the vast 5,500 hectare wilderness.
A woman who lives in a cottage down the road from the entrance said she had recently noticed more traffic than usual at night.
Surveillance footage pulled from 150 cameras all over the city led police to conclude that on the night of Khashoggi’s death one vehicle owned by the Saudi consulate travelled to the forest, and the other to Yavlova.
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