Hurriyet Daily says a second recording of Jamal Khashoggi’s last day exists. The claim comes a day after the Saudi prosecutor blamed a rogue operation for his death, drawing a rebuke from The Washington Post which was publishing the Riyadh critic.

A demonstrator holds a poster with a picture of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi outside the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, Turkey October 25, 2018.
A demonstrator holds a poster with a picture of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi outside the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, Turkey October 25, 2018. (Reuters)

Turkish newspaper columnist Abdulkadir Selvisays Turkey has a second, longer audio recording from Jamal Khashoggi's last day, which contradicts key findings of the Saudi public prosecutor’s indictment published Thursday against the suspected murderers.

The Hurriyet columnist on Friday wrote that the second recording involves the 15 minutes before Khashoggi arrived at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, the day he was killed.

Selvi says that in the 15-minute recording the Saudi team discusses how to execute Khashoggi. They review their plan, which was already in place, and remind themselves of the duty of each member.

Selvi also points to alleged evidence that points to the inconsistency in the Saudi claim that the decision to kill Khashoggi was part of a rogue operation: "Turkey has the international phone calls made by the 15-member Saudi hit squad."

The Hurriyet piece comes after chief Saudi prosecutor Saud al Mojeb said 21 people had been detained over Khashoggi's killing and 11 charged. Mojeb said his office is seeking the death penalty for five of them.

The latest Saudi account was at odds with earlier accounts and crucially said the killing was not premeditated, nor was it ordered from above.

'Shocking in its audacity'

The Washington Post Editorial Board on Thursday slammed the latest Saudi account of the killing of its columnist, saying it was "shocking in its audacity."

"Having previously acknowledged that the journalist was the victim of premeditated murder, authorities in Riyadh reverted to an earlier, discredited tale," the Post wrote.

The Post called the latest Saudi explanation "incredible," and at odds with the available evidence, which has prompted Turkey's president to say the kill order came from the "highest level."

The latest Saudi account says the operation was ordered and advised by then-deputy chief of intelligence, Ahmed al Assiri and "court propagandist" Saud al Qahtani, but neither was involved in the decision to kill Khashoggi. But rather that it was the team sent from Riyadh went rogue.

The Post called the Saudi prosecutor's statement an "all-too-transparent tissue of lies." And it repeated Turkey's call for a genuinely independent international investigation led by the UN.

The Post also slammed the administration of US President Donald Trump, saying it was "abetting the Saudi cover-up," and "appears ready to accept its stonewalling."

"By offering up this incredible account, the Saudi regime is baldly defying all those, including leading members of [the US] Congress, who called for full disclosure and accountability," wrote the Post's editorial board.

Washington has imposed sanctions on 17 individuals in connection with the murder, but none of them are senior in the Saudi administration.

The newspaper urged Congress not to allow "this travesty" to continue.

"It should suspend all military sales and cooperation with Saudi Arabia until a credible international investigation of the Khashoggi killing is completed," it said.

The cover story, it added, is just one "more instance of [Crown Prince] Mohammed bin Salman’s arrogant and reckless behaviour."

"The true murderers of Jamal Khashoggi must be named and punished," the editorial board concluded.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies