American-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed by a Saudi “hit team,” which tortured him by cutting off his fingers and decapitating his body while he was still alive, according to a Turkish newspaper.
The publication Yeni Safak, a pro-Turkish government newspaper, said it obtained recordings of Khashoggi’s brutal killing, which occurred earlier this month. The publication did not explain how it had obtained the recordings of Khashoggi’s death, which occurred at the consulate offices of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul.
The newspaper goes into detail on what can be heard on the recordings, according to reporting from the New York Post. Saudi Consul Mohammed al-Otaibi can be heard, for example, telling Khashoggi’s torturers and assailants to move themselves.
“Do this outside,” he tells the hit team. “You are going to get me in trouble.”
Another person from the alleged hit team responds to al-Otaibi. “If you want to live when you come to Saudi Arabia, be quiet!” he said.
The recordings also suggest that a doctor decapitated Khashoggi’s head and other body parts while listening to music — while the journalist was still alive.
The Saudi government has come out and said that Khashoggi’s death was accidental, the result of a botched interrogation on the journalist who has been critical of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s attempts at quashing dissent in the nation.
Khashoggi, who once lived in Saudi Arabia, became an American resident after the government threatened him and told him to stop writing critically about bin Salman’s reforms, writing a column for the Washington Post and continuing to speak out against the oppressive measures.
Originally, the Saudi government had denied knowing what had happened to Khashoggi after he had gone missing, stating that he had left the consulate. That story changed in the days after conflicting reports from Turkish officials and media suggested he was not ever seen leaving the building.
The new excuse from the Saudi’s seems to have at least one prominent defender: U.S. President Donald Trump, who tweeted this week in defense of the Saudi regime.
…during the call, and told me that he has already started, and will rapidly expand, a full and complete investigation into this matter. Answers will be forthcoming shortly.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 16, 2018
Trump, speaking to reporters this week, also suggested that conclusions shouldn’t be drawn against the Saudis’ alleged assassination of Khashoggi. “Here we go again with you’re guilty until proven innocent,” Trump said, drawing comparisons to the murder to accusations made against his Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who staved off allegations of sexual assault during his confirmation process.