News World Doctor accused of dismembering Saudi journalist trained in Australia

Doctor accused of dismembering Saudi journalist trained in Australia

saudi journalist doctor
Salah al-Tubaigy pictured (left) in the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine annual report, 2015, and (right) in an image published by Daily Sabah that purports to show the Saudi doctor arriving at Istanbul Airport. Photo: ABC
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A Saudi doctor accused of dismembering missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi spent time training at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine.

Dr Salah Tubaigy spent three months as an observer at the VIFM in 2015 and had a particular interest in CT scanning, a VIFM spokeswoman said on Thursday.

The revelation comes after Turkish officials said investigators obtained an audio recording indicating Mr Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2. 

Dr Tubaigy, who spent three months at the institute as a forensic pathologist from June 2015, was seen carrying a bone saw before entering and later escaping the Saudi consulate.

An unnamed source told the New York Times that Dr Tubaigy instructed others who helped dismember the Washington Post columnist to wear headphones as they cut up his body during an interrogation process during which he was conscious.

The source recalled Dr Tubaigy, who currently holds a senior position in the Saudi interior ministry and medical establishment, saying, “when I do this job, I listen to music”, adding that it took about seven minutes to cut up the body.

There are 15 suspected Saudi agents believed to have been involved in the killing of Mr Khashoggi.

Mr Khashoggi, a critic of the current Saudi government, was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.

The Saudi government has denied accusations the former royal insider was killed on the premises.

The senior Turkish official was quoted by the Times as saying that after Mr Khashoggi was shown into the office of the Saudi consul, he was seized almost immediately, beaten and tortured, eventually having his fingers cut off.

“Do this outside. You will put me in trouble,” Saudi Consul Mohammad al-Otaibi told the agents, according to the Turkish official citing audio recordings said to have been obtained by Turkish intelligence.

“If you want to live when you come back to Arabia, shut up,” one of the agents replied, according to the official.

The Times reported that as they cut off Mr Khashoggi’s head and dismembered his body, Dr Tubaigy advised the agents to listen to music as he put on headphones himself.

A security officer looks through the open door of the Arabian consulate in IstanbulPhoto: OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images

The Turkish official quoted the recording as saying that was what Dr Tubaigy did to ease the tension when doing such work.

US President Donald Trump has demanded Turkey hand over any existing audio or video footage related to the assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, “if it exists”.

Asked whether the US was seeking audio or video evidence in an interview with Fox Business Network, Mr Trump said: “We have asked for it, if it exists … I’m not sure yet that it exists, probably does, possibly does.

“I’ll have a full report on that from [Secretary of State] Mike (Pompeo) when he comes back … That’s going to be the first question I ask.”

Mr Pompeo is expected to return to the US from Saudi Arabia and Turkey later Thursday after meeting with both countrys’ leaders.

Mr Trump denied he was trying to give cover to Saudi leaders over Mr Khashoggi’s disappearance, a day after he cautioned against assuming they were guilty in the case until proven innocent.

The President called Saudi Arabia an important ally, noting it is a huge customer for US military exports.

“I just want to find out what’s happening. I’m not giving cover at all,” he told reporters.

-With agencies.