Audio reviewed by the Turkish government provided troubling new details about the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, a columnist for the Washington Post who’s been missing since he entered the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul more than two weeks ago.
The details of Khashoggi’s murder were initially published by Yeni Şafak, a pro-government daily Turkish newspaper, on Wednesday. Per the leaked audio recording cited by Yeni Şafak, 15 Saudi agents were waiting for Khashoggi when he entered the consulate to obtain documents he needed to get married.
After he was shown into the office of Mohammad al-Otaibi, the Saudi consul at the Istanbul post, the Saudi agents started to beat and mutilate Khashoggi. As the attack was in its initial stages, al-Otaibi reportedly said, “Do this outside. You will put me in trouble,” according to a Turkish official speaking with The New York Times and the newspaper, both of which cited the recordings reportedly in the hands of Turkish intelligence agents.
Khashoggi was dragged to the adjacent study, where he was injected with an “unknown substance,” per Yeni Şafak. The Saudi assailants cut Khashoggi’s fingers off while he was still alive; per the paper, it took him seven minutes to die while he was dismembered.
Salah Muhammad al-Tubaigy, a doctor of forensics that was brought in for the dismemberment, according to the paper, listened to music as he started to dismember Khashoggi’s and advised his accomplices to do so as well.
The audio was leaked to the paper the same morning United State Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appeared for a scheduled visit with Turkey officials. As of this morning, President Donald Trump claimed the U.S. officially requested the audio from Turkey—hedging with “if it exists”—and was cagey when asked whether the American government would task the FBI with tracking down the recording of Khashoggi’s murder, responding to a reporter, “Maybe we have... why should I tell you?”
The room broke into laughter over the president’s response.