Audio recordings accessed by a Turkish daily suggest that Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was tortured before being decapitated inside Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul, AFP reported on Wednesday. The recordings were accessed by pro-government daily Yeni Safak.
Khashoggi’s alleged killers tortured the journalist during interrogation by cutting his fingers off and then decapitated him, Yeni Safak reported.
Khashoggi, a vocal critic of the Saudi regime, had been living in self-imposed exile in the United States since 2017. He has been missing since he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.
According to Yeni Safak, Saudi Arabia’s consul to Istanbul, Mohammed al-Otaibi, is heard on one tape saying during Khashoggi’s torture: “Do this outside. You are going to get me in trouble.” The daily reported that an unknown person is heard threatening al-Otaibi.
Citing details from audio recordings, an unidentified senior Turkish official said Saudi agents were waiting for Khashoggi at the consulate and he was dead within minutes, according to The New York Times.
The United States has asked Turkey for the recording which is said to provide evidence that Khashoggi was killed at the Saudi consulate. “We have asked for it, if it exists,” President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House, BBC reported on Thursday.
Meanwhile, French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire on Thursday said he was pulling out of a major investment conference in Saudi Arabia after Khashoggi’s disappearance, AFP reported. “I won’t go to Riyadh next week,” Le Maire said, adding that “the current circumstances do not allow me to go to Riyadh”.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Wednesday in Ankara as pressure escalated on the US and Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi’s disappearance.
Turkish officials suspect a 15-member team “came from Saudi Arabia” to murder the dissident. Saudi officials have repeatedly denied any involvement in the journalist’s disappearance and reiterated the same to Pompeo when he visited Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.