Acid found at Saudi Consul General’s home sheds light on Khashoggi death

A protester holds a candle and picture of Jamal Khashoggi. Photo: Erdem Sahin/EPA-EFE

Nov. 10 (UPI) — Hydrofluoric acid and other chemicals were dumped down a well at the home of the Consul General Muhammed al-Otaibi in Istanbul, Turkish officials said.

Turkish authorities said journalist Jamal Khashoggi was strangled, tortured and then dismembered when he visited the Saudi consulate on Oct. 2. A Saudi hit team then disposed of his body parts by dissolving them in acid so there would be no trace of him, they said, according to a report from Al Jazeera.

On Oct. 16-17, Turkish investigators were combing al-Otaibi’s house for evidence and wanted to gain access to the garden and the well. They were denied but took samples anyway, Al Jazeera’s Andrew Simmons reported.

“Those samples have been processed and they include proof that there had been hydrofluoric and other chemicals,” Simmons said.

Samples taken from the sewage and drainage system also showed traces of acid.

After that, the Saudis sent an 11-member “cover-up team” consisting of chemist and toxicology experts.

The gruesome details of Khashoggi’s death come as some U.S. lawmakers say they want to put additional pressure on Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for his alleged involvement. He continues to deny knowing anything about Khashoggi’s death.

The Saudis’ official story has shifted multiple times from originally saying Khashoggi left the embassy alive to saying he was killed in a rogue operation to finally admitting the ambush was planned ahead of time.

So far, 18 people have been arrested and five fired in connection with the case.

The Washington Post columnist had written articles that were critical of the Saudi royal family, so he fled to live in the United States. He planned to marry his fiance Hatice Cengiz, who waited outside the consulate for several hours and grew concerned when he never emerged.

“I’m unable to express my sorrow to learn about dissolving your body Jamal! They killed you and chopped up your body, depriving me and your family of conducting your funeral prayer and burying you,” Cengiz said. “Are these killers and those behind it human beings?”

Earlier this week, Jamal’s son, Salah Khashoggi, said the family wants closure, particularly in the form of a burial near other deceased family members.

“All we want right now is to bury him in Al-Baqi [cemetery] in Medina [Saudi Arabia] with the rest of his family,” Salah Khashoggi said in an interview with CNN. “I talked about that with the Saudi authorities and I just hope that it happens soon.”

He said he also believes those responsible will be brought to justice.


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