Jamal Khashoggi murder: Canadian intelligence ‘has heard tape’

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Justin Trudeau spoke to reporters at the Canadian embassy in Paris (AFP)

Canadian intelligence has heard an audio recording of the killing of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has confirmed.

“Canada has been fully briefed up on what Turkey had to share,” he said.

Mr Trudeau is the first Western leader to confirm his country has listened to the purported tape of the murder at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Turkey’s president said on Saturday that he had given copies to the US, UK, Germany, France and Saudi Arabia.

“We gave them the tapes,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters before flying to Paris for a gathering of world leaders commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One. “They’ve also listened to the conversations, they know it.”

However, the US has not said whether it has received a tape and France’s foreign minister has said it is not in possession of one as far as he is aware.

The Saudi government has admitted a team of agents murdered Khashoggi, a prominent critic who was living in self-imposed exile in the US and writing for the Washington Post, and it has arrested 18 people allegedly involved.

At a news conference in Paris on Monday, Mr Trudeau said Canadian intelligence agencies had been working very closely with Turkey on the murder investigation.

“I had a conversation with Erdogan a couple of weeks ago over the phone. Here in Paris we had brief exchanges and I thanked him for his strength in responding to the Khashoggi situation,” he added.

When asked whether Canada had heard the purported audio recordings, Mr Trudeau said “yes”. But he added that he had not listened to them personally.

But the prime minister sidestepped a question about whether such evidence would have consequences for Canada’s relationship with Saudi Arabia.

“We are in discussions with our like-minded allies as to the next steps with regard Saudi Arabia,” he said.

Mr Trudeau has faced calls to cancel a $13bn (£10bn) arms deal with Saudi Arabia for tanks and armoured fighting vehicles built by an Ontario-based unit of the US firm General Dynamics.

Relations between the two countries are already strained. In August, Saudi Arabia accused Canada of violating its sovereignty and froze new trade after Canadian officials called for the release of detained civil society and women’s rights activists. (Excerpts from BBC)

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