CCTV footage has been released which appears to show one of the 15 so-called Saudi Arabian “hit squad” posing as a body double for murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The images, which were published by CNN on Monday, show the decoy leaving the Saudi consulate in Istanbul by the back door, wearing Mr Khashoggi’s clothes, a fake beard, and glasses, in the hours after he was killed.
The man has been identified as Mustafa al-Madani – an official who was reportedly brought from Riyadh to Turkey to act as Khashoggi’s body double.
Four hours earlier Mr Madani, 57, who is of similar height, age and build to Khashoggi, entered the building by the front door, without a beard, wearing a blue and white checked shirt and dark blue trousers.
“Khashoggi’s clothes were probably still warm when Madani put them on,” a senior Turkish official told CNN.
Saudi Arabia initially claimed that Mr Khashoggi had left the consulate through the back door, although footage of the double was never released to back up their claim.
The kingdom finally acknowledged Mr Khashoggi’s death on Saturday morning, when they said he was killed accidentally in a “fistfight”. They claimed it was not done on the order of heir-apparent Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Adel al-Jubeir, Saudi Foreign Minister, told Fox News on Sunday that Khashoggi’s killing was “a rogue operation” and that “we don’t know where the body is.'”
“The individuals who did this did this outside the scope of their authority,” he said. “There obviously was a tremendous mistake made and what compounded the mistake was the attempt to try to cover up. That is unacceptable to the government.”
Turkish media and officials meanwhile said the 60-year-old Washington Post columnist was attacked by a 15-man Saudi team, which allegedly included a member of the royal’s entourage, that cut off his fingers and decapitated him.
Riyadh’s account of what happened on October 2 has changed several times as it came under mounting international mounting to explain the journalist’s disappearance.
Prince Mohammed and his father, King Salman, called the son of Khashoggi on Sunday to express condolences for the death of his father.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s president, has said that details of Khashoggi’s killing “will be revealed in all its nakedness” in a speech in parliament on Tuesday, the same day an investment forum in Riyadh spearheaded by Prince Mohammed is to take place.
Mr Erdogan’s announcement will likely have been received with some surprise in the Saudi royal court, which might have thought their account of what happened would put to bed any independent Turkish investigation.
But the international fallout has continued, with Canada cancelling a multi-billion dollar defense contract with Saudi.
Asked about a key deal with Riyadh for the sale of light armored vehicles worth CAD$15 billion, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said “in this contract, there are clauses that must be followed in relation to the use of what is sold to them.”
“If they do not follow these clauses, we will definitely cancel the contract.”
Mr Trudeau’s announcement followed a similar one from German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who said her country would not export arms to Saudi Arabia amid the uncertainty around Khashoggi’s death.
Prime Minister Theresa May said on Monday that there remains an “urgent need” clarification, though senior British officials have signalled there would be no end to arms sales with the kingdom.