According to the Turkish media outlet Haberturk, Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, was met by four people in the Saudi Consulate General in Istanbul. Neither Turkish, nor Saudi authorities have commented on the report yet.
Turkish news website Haberturk has released the first quotes from th e alleged audio recordings of Jamal Khashoggi’s last moments before he was killed in the Saudi Consulate General in the city of Istanbul on 2 October.
“Release my arm! What do you think you are doing?” Khashoggi reportedly said at the consulate’s visa department after one of the four men grabbed his arm.
They then allegedly took the journalist to the consulate’s administrative unit, where three more people joined them. Haberturk claims that one of those three Saudis was Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, the purported leader of the 15-member hit squad.
“Traitor! You will be brought to account,” the voice, which sounds like Mutreb, is heard shouting, Haberturk claims.
The rest of the seven-minute audio allegedly includes verbal clashes, fighting and torture.
The media outlet further claims that 19 phone calls were made to Saudi Arabia from the ‘C unit’, where the consul’s office is located, with four of them allegedly between Mutreb and Saud al-Qahtani, a close adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who was dismissed from his post last month.
Neither Turkish, nor Saudi authorities have commented on the report yet.
Earlier this month, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Ankara had shared the recordings related to Khashoggi’s killing with the US, Canada, Saudi Arabia, France, and the UK.
Saudi authorities have on mutiple occasions denied the royal family’s involvement in the case, branding the journalist’s murder as a ‘rogue operation’.Riyadh has arrested 21 people as part of the ongoing probe, having charged 11 of them and demanded capital punishment for five of those accused.
On 15 November, the Saudi Prosecutor General’s Office announced that Khashoggi had died in the consulate after being ‘forcibly restrained, and injected with a large amount of a drug resulting in an overdose that led to his death’.
Jamal Khashoggi went missing on 2 October after entering the Saudi Consulate General in the Turkish city of Istanbul. Following weeks of concerns that he could have been kidnapped or murdered inside the consular premises and searched of the building by Turkish police, Riyadh confirmed his death.