the Turkish Daily Sabah newspaper has released audio transcripts of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the Saudi hit squad that reportedly killed him inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last year.
The recordings, which were obtained by Turkey's National Intelligence Organisation (MIT), and subsequently published by the newspaper yesterday, recount the conversations had between The Washington Post columnist and the 15-man hit squad just moments before his assassination, which took place on the 2nd of October, 2018.[[imagecaption|| Credit: Getty]]
Khashoggi, a known dissident, was living in the United States, and had gone to Turkey's consulate to collect documents for his upcoming wedding before he was killed and dismembered.
After initially denying, and then downplaying his death as an accidental killing in a fistfight, Riyadh admitted almost three weeks after Khashoggi's disappearance that he was murdered in a premeditated fashion. They denied that the royal family was involved, and blamed the incident on lower-level officials, including five who are currently facing the death penalty over their alleged involvement.
Last month, Agnes Callamard, a U.N human rights expert who conducted an independent probe into Khashoggi's murder, stated in a report that Saudi Arabia was responsible for the assassination. It also detailed that "credible evidence" had been found linking Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the killing. Callamard added that she had received no cooperation from the state, and limited assistance from the US.[[imagecaption|| Credit: Getty]]
Per the Daily Sabah, Khashoggi was greeted by someone he knew when he entered the consulate, but was then pulled into a room.
"Please sit. We have to take you back [to Riyadh]," Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb - a senior Saudi intelligence officer and the bodyguard of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed - can be heard saying. "There is an order from Interpol. Interpol demanded you be returned. We are here to take you.".
"There are no lawsuits against me. My fiancee is waiting outside for me," responds Khashoggi.
In the 10 minutes leading up to his death, Mutreb asks the journalist to "leave a message for your son", telling him to not worry if he can't get in touch with him.
When Khashoggi refuses, Mutreb says "Write it, Mister Jamal. Hurry up. Help us so we can help you, because in the end we will take you back to Saudi Arabia and if you don't help us you know what will happen eventually."
Khashoggi was then purportedly drugged. His last words before losing consciousness were, "I have asthma. Do not do it, you will suffocate me."[[imagecaption|| Credit: Getty]]
At 1:39pm, the sounds of an autopsy are heard as the operatives begin dismembering Khashoggi's body. The procedure lasts 30 minutes.
The journalist's body has yet to be recovered, it's believed that it was packed into suitcases, and transported out of the embassy.