Gruesome audio tapes prove Saudis killed missing journalist, say Turkish officials
- Jamal Khashoggi was killed just moments after entering the Saudi consulate on Oct. 2., according to the anonymous senior official.
- News of the alleged tapes broke the same day U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Saudi officials about the disappearance.
- President Donald Trump has reportedly requested copies of the tapes.
Gruesome audio recordings prove that missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi was tortured, killed and dismembered in the Saudi consulate in Turkey, according to a senior Turkish official.
The pro-government Turkish newspaper Yeni Şafakpublished leaked details Wednesday about the alleged audio tapes. Those details come one day after Turkish police said they had audio recordings proving Saudi operatives had killed Khashoggi, and on the same day as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Saudi King Salman and his Crown Prince to discuss the case.
On the day of Khashoggi’s disappearance, a team of 15 Saudi operatives, some of whom have close ties to the Saudi prince, arrived in Istanbul and traveled to the consulate. They were reportedly waiting for Khashoggi when he arrived on Oct. 2.
It was a brutal murder that took about seven minutes, the official said.
Saudi operatives reportedly dragged Khashoggi from the Consul General’s office and put him on a table in another room. At some point during the encounter, the operatives allegedly interrogated, beat and tortured Khashoggi, severing his fingers and eventually dismembering his body.
“The screaming stopped when Khashoggi was injected with an as yet unknown substance. Head of forensic evidence in the Saudi general security department Salah Muhammad al-Tubaigy began to cut Khashoggi’s body up on a table in the study while he was still alive. As he started to dismember the body, Tubaigy put on earphones and listened to music. He advised other members of the squad to do the same.”
On Monday, Turkish and Saudi officials began a joint forensics investigation of the Saudi consulate. But before that took place, multiple media outlets reported that a crew carrying cleaning supplies had entered the consulate building.
The U.S. response
Pompeo, after meeting with King Salman, said:
“My assessment from these meetings is that there is serious commitment to determine all the facts and ensure accountability, including accountability for Saudi Arabia’s senior leaders or senior officials.”
President Donald Trump has seemed reluctant to pressure Saudi Arabia on the case. In a tweet, the president said Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman assured him that his government played no part in the disappearance. On Tuesday, Trump compared the situation to the recent sexual assault allegations again Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
“I think we have to find out what happened first,” Trump told the Associated Press. “Here we go again with, you know, you’re guilty until proven innocent. I don’t like that.”
On Wednesday, Trump said he had requested copies of the supposed audio tapes.
“We’ve asked for it, if it exists,” Trump said in the Oval Office, adding that the such a tape “probably exists.”
“We will probably know that by the end of the week.”