Journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s final words disclosed in transcript. Picture: AP
Journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s final words disclosed in transcript. Picture: AP

Khashoggi’s harrowing last words

"I can't breathe."

These were the final, distressing words uttered by journalist Jamal Khashoggi before he was brutally murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, CNN reports.

Quoting a source who said they had read the full translated transcript of an audio recording, CNN said that Khashoggi recognised one of the men, General Maher Mutreb, who told him: "You are coming back".

Khashoggi replied: "You can't do that ... people are waiting outside."

 

Slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi with his fiance, Hatice Cengiz.
Slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi with his fiance, Hatice Cengiz.

 

His Turkish fiancee Hatice Cengiz waited for hours outside the consulate on October 2 and, when he did not return, contacted Turkish authorities about his disappearance.

There was no further dialogue in the relatively short transcript, prepared by Turkish authorities, CNN's source said.

As people set upon Khashoggi, he started fighting for air, repeating, "I can't breathe" at least three times.

The transcript then used unsettling singular words to describe the noises, including "scream", "gasping", "saw", and "cutting".

Turkish sources told Reuters a bone saw was used to dismember the journalist. The transcript included no further mention of returning Khashoggi to Saudi Arabia, and no indication that he had been drugged - as Saudi Arabia's public prosecutor said in November.

One of the voices was identified in the transcript by Turkish authorities as Dr Salah al-Tubaigy, a forensic expert specialising in autopsies attached to the Saudi Ministry of Interior, CNN reported.

Mr al-Tubaigy tells others to put in earphones or listen to music like him, the CNN source said.

General Mutreb, a senior intelligence officer who is part of the security team of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, called officials and gave step-by-step details of the operation, CNN reported, finally saying: "Tell yours, the thing is done, it's done".

 

One of the voices was identified in the transcript by Turkish authorities as Dr Salah al-Tubaigy.
One of the voices was identified in the transcript by Turkish authorities as Dr Salah al-Tubaigy.

 

Turkish officials said last week that the Istanbul prosecutor's office had concluded there was "strong suspicion" that Saud al-Qahtani, a top aide to Prince Mohammed, and General Ahmed al-Asiri, who served as deputy head of foreign intelligence, were among the planners of Khashoggi's killing.

Saudi Arabia has said the prince had no prior knowledge of the murder. After offering contradictory explanations, Riyadh later said Khashoggi had been killed and his body dismembered when negotiations to persuade him to return to Saudi Arabia failed.

Both US Republicans and Democrats said last week they want to pass legislation to send a message to Saudi Arabia that the US condemns the death of Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist.

Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir on Sunday ruled out the extradition of the suspects.

"We don't extradite our citizens," he said at a Gulf Arab summit in Riyadh.

Last month, Saudi Arabia's public prosecutor's office said it was seeking the death penalty for five individuals, and that 11 of 21 suspects have been indicted and will be referred to court in Saudi Arabia.



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