Evidence Mounting that Khashoggi was Tortured and Killed in Istanbul’s Saudi Consulate
Turkish officials claim to have obtained an audio recording revealing the final moments of missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s life.
Turkey’s Sabah newspaper reported the contents of the audio recording, which was allegedly captured by Khashoggi’s Apple Watch. Turkish authorities obtained the recording from Khashoggi’s iPhone and iCloud account that were synced to his watch.
The Sabah said that Saudi Consul General Mohammed al-Otaibi could be heard on the tape telling Khashoggi’s torturers, “Do this outside; you’re going to get me in trouble.”
One of the torturers replied, “Shut up if you want to live when you return to [Saudi] Arabia”. It is unclear whether the torturer was speaking to al-Otaibi or Khashoggi.
Turkish officials said they shared the audio clip, as well as other evidence, with both the United States and Saudi Arabia to support its conclusion that Khashoggi was murdered inside Istanbul’s Saudi consulate.
News of the audio clip comes amid increasing pressure on Saudi Arabia over the Khashoggi case. The UK, France and Germany have called for Saudi Arabia to provide an explanation concerning Khashoggi’s fate. Additionally, prominent private sector individuals, such as Virgin Group founder, Richard Branson, have pulled out of a major Saudi investment summit, the Future Investment Initiative Conference, due to take place later this month.
On Wednesday Oct. 17, Turkish officials investigated the residence of Consul General al-Otaibi following their search of the Saudi Consulate two days earlier.
Mounting evidence suggests that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is directly involved in Khashoggi’s disappearance.
One of the suspects identified by Turkey, Dr. Salah al-Tubaigy, works as a forensics expert for the Saudi Interior Ministry. Another suspect, Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, was a frequent companion of Mohammed bin Salman. Turkish officials released a photo of Mutreb at the Istanbul airport, naming him as part of a team of Saudi agents who assassinated Khashoggi.
Three other members of the 15-person death squad allegedly hired to kill Khashoggi are linked to the Saudi Crown Prince’s security detail.
In total, at least nine of 15 suspects worked for the Saudi security services, military or other government ministries.
Saudi Arabia has vehemently denied involvement in Khashoggi’s disappearance. They claim that Khashoggi left the Saudi consulate amicably after obtaining the documents he sought.
On Monday, CNN reported that Saudi Arabia was preparing to admit that Khashoggi died following an interrogation in the consulate. CNN also reported that the Saudi government intended to deny giving permission for the interrogation.
However, with the revelation of each new piece of information, the Saudi account seems more and more divorced from the truth.