Audio recording that captures the final moments of slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi provide new insight into his death at a Saudi consulate in Turkey last year.
The recording was taken at the consulate building in Istanbul on Oct. 2, 2018, and later given to several governments, including the United States, Britain and Canada. They have yet to be released publicly, but the Daily Sabah reported transcripts Tuesday. ABC News reported it confirmed the transcripts’ authenticity with Turkish authorities.
On the tape, conversations are heard about how to dismember Khashoggi’s body and whether to use bags or suitcases to get it out of the building. Khashoggi went to the consulate to pick up required documents needed for his planned wedding.
The recordings were obtained by Turkey’s National Intelligences Organization shortly after Khashoggi’s death, which Saudi officials said was caused by a rogue Saudi group. Heard on the tape, according to the transcripts, are senior team member Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb and Dr. Salah Muhammed Tubaigy, the forensic head at Riyadh’s General Security Department.
“I know how to cut very well,” Tubaigy said, according to the transcripts. “I have never worked on a warm body though, but I’ll also manage that easily.
“I normally put on my earphones and listen to music when I cut cadavers. In the meantime, I sip on my coffee and smoke. After I dismember it, you will wrap the parts into plastic bags, put them in suitcases and take them out.”
Also on tape is Mutreb unsuccessfully ordering Khashoggi to send a text message to his son.
“You will write something like ‘I’m in Istanbul. Don’t worry if you cannot reach me,'” Mutreb says in the transcript.
“How can such a thing take place at a consulate? I’m not writing anything,” Khashoggi said moments later.
“There is a towel here. Will you have me drugged?” he adds, to which Mutreb answers, “We will put you to sleep.”
“I have asthma. Do not do it, you will suffocate me,” are the journalist’s final words.
A United Nations investigative report in June blamed Khashoggi’s death on high-level Saudi officials, including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The report said the prince has always played a primary role in controlling opponents, and concluded it’s highly likely he knew about the plot to kill Khashoggi.
Members of the purported hit team are presently on trial in Saudi Arabia. Khashoggi’s remains have not been found.