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Trudeau says Canada has heard Khashoggi recordings

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said that agents in his country have listened to audio recordings...

Posted: Nov 13, 2018 9:18 AM
Updated: Nov 13, 2018 9:18 AM

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said that agents in his country have listened to audio recordings related to Jamal Khashoggi, the Washington Post columnist who was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last month.

Turkey has claimed for weeks to have audio evidence that exposes how the Saudi journalist was killed on October 2 as he visited the consulate to obtain papers for his upcoming marriage.

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Saturday that his country had shared the recordings with Saudi Arabia, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and France.

While in Paris for World War I commemorations, Trudeau confirmed to reporters that Canadian agents had heard the recordings but that he himself had not.

"We continue to be engaged with our allies on the investigation into accountability for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, and we are in discussions with our like-minded allies as to next steps towards Saudi Arabia," he said.

Confusion has swirled over which countries have and haven't listened to the recordings, and Turkish officials have said little about what they might contain.

US President Donald Trump has called the episode a "total fiasco," but has faced sharp criticism for being lax on the kingdom over Khashoggi's killing, showing reluctance to impose sanctions on the Saudis over the journalist's death.

It was not immediately clear whether US officials had heard the recordings.

French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told France 2 on Monday that he had "no knowledge" of Turkey handing France any audio.

"If the Turkish President has information to give us, he has to give them to us," he said.

When asked whether he thought Erdogan was lying about passing on the recordings, he responded: "That means he has a particular political game to play in these circumstances."

The UK Foreign Office would not confirm or deny to CNN whether British intelligence agencies were in possession of the audio.

The German government and its foreign office declined to comment when CNN asked about the recordings, but government spokesman Steffen Siebert said at a news conference Monday that "there was exchange from the intelligence agencies" of Germany and Turkey.

"As in all questions of operational activity of the intelligence agencies, we do not give out information publicly," he said.

Erdogan has previously demanded that Saudi Arabia hand over 18 suspects who have been arrested to Turkey for prosecution, but the kingdom has insisted that those responsible for Khashoggi's death will be tried in Saudi Arabia.

The Turkish chief prosecutor said 10 days ago that Khashoggi was strangled as soon as he entered the Saudi consulate, as part of a premeditated plan, and his body dismembered.

The Saudis have presented shifting stories about the journalist's death, initially denying any knowledge before arguing that a group of rogue operators were responsible for Khashoggi's death.

The Saudi attorney general then said the Turkish side had provided information indicating that the killing was premeditated, while the Saudi foreign minister and energy minister have both described Khashoggi's death as "murder."

Riyadh has maintained that neither bin Salman nor his father, King Salman, knew of the operation to target Khashoggi. US officials have speculated that such a mission -- including the 15 men sent from Riyadh -- could not have been carried out without the authorization of bin Salman, the country's de facto ruler.

After Saudi Arabia admitted that Khashoggi was killed in its Istanbul consulate, five high-ranking officials were dismissed, including bin Salman's media chief and the deputy head of the Saudi intelligence service.

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