Jamal Khashoggi was tortured and dismembered over seven minutes while he was still alive, according to a Turkish source who heard an audio recording of the murder. The report from the source was reported by the Middle East Eye.
This is the first published account of the details of the audio tape that had been acquired by Turkish investigators involved in the investigation of what happened to Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist who was also a Washington Post columnist.
Khashoggi was abducted October 2nd from the consul-general’s office at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and dragged into a study next door. After that a witness downstairs reportedly heard horrendous screams.
“The consul himself was taken out of the room,” the source told the news outlet. “There was no attempt to interrogate him. They had come to kill him.” He said that Khashoggi stopped screaming finally after he was injected with an unidentified substance.
Salah Muhammad al-Tubaigy, the head of forensic evidence in the Saudi general security department, did the torture and dismemberment, according to the report. He had arrived in Turkey earlier that day by private jet as part of a 15 member assassination squad.
The Turkish source told Middle East Eye that Tubaigy started to cut up Khashoggi’s body on a table in the study while the journalist was still alive. He said he timed it and the murder took approximately seven minutes.
The audio recording reveals that Tubaigy put on earphones and listened to music as he dismembered Khashoggi’s body with a bone saw. He also told other squad members that they should do the same thing
“When I do this job, I listen to music,” Tubaigy is heard to say on the recording. “You should do that too.”
The journalist was last seen walking into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2nd to retrieve paperwork he needed for foreign travel.
So far Saudi government officials have denied any involvement in Khashoggi’s disappearance. They said that he left the Saudi consulate very soon after he arrived there, but they have not presented any proof that this is true.
On Tuesday, both US President Donald Trump and Mike Pompeo, his secretary of state, came out in support of Saudi officials’ denials they know anything about what happened to Khashoggi.
On Tuesday, Washington Post publisher and CEO Fred Ryan called for a “full and honest explanation” of Khashoggi’s disappearance.
“The Saudi government can no longer remain silent, and it is essential that our own government and others push harder for the truth,” Ryan said in a statement. “Until we have a full account and full accountability, it cannot be business as usual with the Saudi government.”
The United Nations human rights chief also called for diplomatic immunity to be lifted for officials who might be involved in Khashoggi’s disappearance.
Due to the seriousness of the case, the immunity generally accorded to diplomats “should be waived immediately”, Michelle Bachelet said.