A Turkish daily on Wednesday claimed it has accessed audio recordings that indicate Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was tortured before he was decapitated inside Riyadh’s consulate in Istanbul. Khashoggi vanished on October 2 after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Turkish authorities suspect he was abducted and murdered by the Saudis. However, Riyadh insists that the journalist, a known critic of Saudi King Salman, had left the building and that the murder claims are “baseless”.
Quoting the Turkish daily Yeni Safak, the AFP reported that Khashoggi’s alleged killers tortured the journalist during interrogation by cutting off his fingers. Yeni Safak has claimed to have heard multiple recordings of the incident. The newspaper said Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributor, was then decapitated.
The Washington Post has previously cited unnamed US and Turkish officials pointing to audio and video recordings that prove Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate and was then dismembered. But this is the first time Turkish media has claimed to hear the tapes.
According to Yeni Safak, Saudi Arabia’s consul to Istanbul, Mohammed al-Otaibi, can be heard on one tape saying during Khashoggi’s torture: “Do this outside. You are going to get me in trouble.” The daily reported that in another tape, an unknown individual tells Otaibi: “If you want to live when you come to Saudi Arabia, be quiet!” Yeni Safak did not say how the tapes came into existence or how it obtained them.
Otaibi left Istanbul on Tuesday for Riyadh ahead of a planned search of his residence as part of the official Turkish investigation into Khashoggi’s disappearance.
On Monday, CNN cited two sources as saying the Saudis are preparing a report that Khashoggi’s death resulted from a botched interrogation.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday arrived in Ankara from Riyadh for talks with the Turkish leadership saying Saudi Arabia had promised a full investigation into the case. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Tuesday urged the Governments of Saudi Arabia and Turkey to “reveal everything they know” about the disappearance and a possible extra-judicial killing of the prominent journalist, reported PTI.