Salah Muhammad al-Tubaigy spent three months at the forensic medicine centre, where he observed autopsies
A key suspect in the reported torture and murder of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi worked in Australia for three months at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, where he observed autopsies being performed. Khashoggi has not been seen since he entered the office of the Saudi consul Mohammad al-Otaibi in Istanbul on 2 October.
A report citing Turkish officials in the New York Times said an audio-recording allegedly proves Khashoggi, a critic of Saudi leaders, was attacked by a Saudi hit-team upon entering the consulate. The recording was allegedly obtained by Turkish officials. Jamal Khashoggi audio: US requests recording evidence from Turkey Read more Salah Muhammad al-Tubaigy, a forensics specialist who spent time in Australia, can allegedly be heard in the recording ordering the hit-team to put on headphones and listen to music while dismembering Khashoggi’s body. Khashoggi was known for his criticism of Saudi leaders.
The director of the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, Prof Noel Woodford, confirmed to Guardian Australia that al-Tubaigy spent three months with the institute in 2015. He said that specialists visited from overseas “all the time”. “When he approached the institute he was was interested in our CT scanning as it’s not common in every mortuary and forensic institute,” Woodford said. “The technology is particularly useful in times of disaster as you don’t have to do an autopsy. His interest was in that because he said he was in charge of responding to mass disasters in Saudi Arabia, and had an interest in the deaths of hajj pilgrims during the pilgrimage.” The pilgrimage in Mecca often results in congestion, which has resulted in crowd crushes and deaths. Woodford said al-Tubaigy observed autopsies at the institute but was never involved in conducting any. The former director of the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, Stephen Cordner, told ABC radio Melbourne on Thursday that al-Tubaigy’s visit was sponsored by the Saudi government. The doctor had also trained in the UK, Cordner said.
“I remember Dr Tubaigy,” he said. Jamal Khashoggi audio: US requests recording evidence from Turkey Read more “He became the senior forensic doctor in Saudi Arabia, he was head of the Saudi forensic medicine commission.” He said the institute often welcomed visiting specialists from overseas without any issues. “We approach them as though they’re honest people dealing with us wanting to improve the lives of the people in the country they come from,” he said.
Donald Trump has come under increasing pressure for his defense of the Saudi regime, as senior Republicans have expressed their anger over Khashoggi’s murder. Trump has previously cautioned against blaming Saudi leaders. The kingdom is one of Washington’s closest allies in the Middle East. But by Thursday, Trump had told reporters at the White House he had asked Turkey for a copy of the audio recording. “We have asked for it, if it exists,” Trump said. “I’m not sure yet that it exists, probably does, possibly does.” But Turkish officials have said the audio recording has already been handed over to the US and Saudi Arabia. Since you’re here… … we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading the Guardian than ever but advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. And unlike many news organizations, we haven’t put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as open as we can. So you can see why we need to ask for your help. The Guardian is editorially independent, meaning we set our own agenda. Our journalism is free from commercial bias and not influenced by billionaire owners, politicians or shareholders. No one edits our editor. No one steers our opinion.