More than 400 private WhatsApp messages sent by Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year to a fellow Saudi exile may offer fresh clues to the killing of Khashoggi, according to a CNN report.
Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate’s building in Istanbul on October 2 to obtain documentation certifying he had divorced his ex-wife. He was not seen since.
Turkish media have reported Khashoggi was killed and dismembered based on recordings from the consulate. They say he died at the hands of a 15-member assassination squad from Saudi Arabia.
In his conversation with Canada-based activist Omar Abdulaziz, which was accessed by CNN, Khashoggi describes Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, also known as MBS, as a “beast” and a “Pac-man” who would “devour all in his path, even his supporters”.
“Arrests are unjustified and do not serve him [logic says], but tyranny has no logic, but he loves force, oppression and needs to show them off. He is like a beast ‘Pac-Man’ the more victims he eats, the more he wants. I will not be surprised that the oppression will reach even those who are cheering him, then others and others and so on. God knows,” Khashoggi wrote, according to CNN.
The messages shared by Abdulaziz with CNN include voice recordings, photos and videos. The conversation reveals the two were planning an “online youth movement”, CNN reported.
Abdulaziz believes the messages between him and Khashoggi were intercepted by Saudi authorities in August, two months before the killing.
Abdulaziz told CNN he plans to join a lawsuit against an Israeli company that reportedly invented the software to hack his phone.
He told the US broadcaster that the phone’s hacking “played a major role in what happened to Jamal”.
“The guilt is killing me,” he said.
Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday said that Turkey had no intention of harming the Saudi royal family, and added that holding those responsible for the killing would also be beneficial to the Middle East monarch.
Speaking at a press conference at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Erdogan said Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had sent his chief prosecutor to Turkey to investigate the Khashoggi killing, but he had not shared information with Ankara.
Erdogan said the killing of Khashoggi has been a test for the whole world.
Turkey has evidence documenting Khashoggi, was killed in 7-1/2 minutes, Erdogan said.
Moreover, MBS sent 11 messages to his closest adviser, who reportedly oversaw the operatives who killed Khashoggi, in the hours before and after the journalist’s murder on October 2, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
The Journal said on Saturday it had reviewed excerpts of an intelligence file that was classified as “highly confidential”, which cites electronic intercepts and other covert information between Prince Mohammed and his aide, Saud al-Qahtani.
However, the content of the messages between the two parties is unknown.
“To be clear, we lack direct reports that the crown prince issued the order of murder,” the assessment notes, according to the Journal.
The assessment reports that Qahtani, who supervised the 15-man team that killed Khashoggi, was also in direct communication with the team’s leader in Istanbul.