A Saudi consulate worker in Istanbul has told an Istanbul court that he was asked to light an oven less than an hour after Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi entered the building where he was killed in 2018.
Zeki Demir, a local technician who worked for the consulate, was giving evidence on July 3, on the first day of the trial in absentia of 20 Saudi officials over Khashoggi’s killing which sparked global outrage.
“I heard from friends that a unit will come for the renovation. They called home the day before the incident to say the same thing,” noted Demir in his statement in court.
Demir said he had been called to the consul’s residence after Khashoggi entered the nearby consulate.
“Five or six people prevented me from entering the building. They asked me to light the oven. There was an air of panic. They seemed to want me to leave as soon as possible, Demir said, adding that he eventually lit the oven.
“If you fall into the oven, you will be a kebab,” Demir joked. But the Saudis told him “yallah” (come on), so Demir left the building after.
Demir pointed out that a vehicle came after leaving the building, but that the driver did not automatically open the door of the garage, so Demir wanted to open it manually, but the Saudis did not allow him.
“The color of the marble had also changed. It had changed because of aqua fortis [acid],” he noted.
Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post, was killed and dismembered by a group of Saudi operatives shortly after he entered the Saudi Arabian consulate Oct. 2, 2018 in Istanbul where he went to obtain marriage-related documents.
A 117-page indictment was prepared by Istanbul prosecutors that accused 20 Saudi nationals of involvement in the gruesome premeditated murder. It was accepted in April by Istanbul’s Heavy Penal Court No. 11.
Hurriyet Daily News