Saudi journalist Jamal Kashoggi was butchered alive during an excruciating seven-minute execution inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, a source has claimed.
The anonymous source claims to have heard an audio recording of Mr Khashoggi’s horrifying final moments, captured on the journalist’s own Apple watch, shortly after he entered he consulate on October 2.
The tape reveals Mr Khashoggi was dragged from the Saudi Consul General’s office to a table in a next-door study, where he was surgically dismembered, Middle East Eye reports.
The audio recording is said to have captured the missing journalist’s dying screams, before he was ‘injected with an unknown drug’ and fell silent.
Horrifying: Jamal Khashoggi was thrown onto a desk and dismembered by a Saudi ‘hit squad’ while he was still alive, according to an anonymous source
Claims: The anonymous source claims to have heard Mr Khashoggi’s final minutes on an audio recording made on the journalist’s own Apple smartwatch
‘There was no attempt to interrogate him. They had come to kill him,’ the source said.
The source also claimed that Khashoggi’s screams had been heard by witnesses downstairs as he was cut into pieces on the desk.
The news comes as Turkish police said earlier Tuesday they now have evidence missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed and cut into pieces inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
A Turkish official confirmed to CNN late on Tuesday that police believe Khashoggi was brutally dismembered, after a previous report in the New York Times shortly after his disappearance made similar claims.
Earlier on Tuesday Police claimed to have found ‘certain evidence’ that Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate, before the Saudi consul made a sudden departure from a Turkish airport.
The discovery was reportedly made during the nine-hour overnight search, after which crime scene investigators have been ‘looking into toxic materials’.
Just hours before investigators were due to search through the residence of Saudi consul Mohammad al-Otaibi in Istanbul, he left Turkey on a commercial flight.
Sealed off: The Saudi consul’s residence had been secured for a potential search
Crime scene tape blocks off the area near the residence of Consul General of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul on Tuesday night
Security officers are seen in front of the residence of Consul General of Saudi Arabia Mohammad al-Otaibi in Istanbul, Turkey, today
Mohammad al-Otaibi, the Saudi Consul in Istanbul, left Turkey on a commercial flight on Tuesday just hours before Turkish investigators entered his residence
Meanwhile President Trump said Tuesday that he has spoken to the crown prince of Saudi Arabia and the kingdom steadfastly denies any involvement in Khashoggi’s suspected murder.
Trump said that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ‘totally denied’ knowledge of the journalist’s disappearance in a Tuesday afternoon phone call.
In tweets, Trump said that the crown prince, who goes by the initials MBS, reiterated his father’s denial of Saudi Arabia’s alleged role in the affair during the call that followed a dinner between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the Saudi leader in Riyadh.
He said in an interview just before the call that he was waiting to hear from the crown prince to pass judgement. ‘If they knew about it, that would be bad,’ he said, reflecting on the matter to Fox Business.
The president declined to weigh in, once again, on the believeability of the claims that Turkey says are bogus.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said today he hoped a ‘reasonable opinion’ would be reached as soon as possible, clarifying what happened when the Saudi journalist entered his country’s consulate in Istanbul two weeks ago.
Seeking to defuse the crisis over Khashoggi’s disappearance, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo today arrived in Riyadh to meet with King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia.
Having a chat: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo shakes hands with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh on Tuesday
Trump tweeted that he had spoken to the Crown Prince over the phone on Tuesday who ‘denied knowledge of what took place’
Cleaning up? Maintenance workers leave with garbage from Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Tuesday afternoon
Throwing out the trash: The bags were taken out after the nine-hour overnight visit by Turkish investigators
Turkish forensic investigators gather on the steps of the Saudi consulate in Istanbul as they prepare to enter the building last night
The crack team of investigators could be seen marching through the door which Jamal Khashoggi walked through two weeks ago
‘We are strong and old allies. We face our challenges together,’ the crown prince said as he warmly welcomed Pompeo at the palace before sitting down for talks and a subsequent dinner.
Pompeo will travel straight to Turkey to hold talks with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu on Wednesday, Ankara said in a statement.
This follows reports last night that Saudi Arabia is preparing to admit that the 59-year-old Washington Post journalist was killed inside the Istanbul consulate – but that it was an accident.
CNN claimed that the Saudi Arabian government is preparing a report which will say Khashoggi was supposed to be taken to the kingdom but died in the consulate during interrogation.
CNN said that two sources had leaked the report, which could change’ and is ‘still being prepared’.
The Saudis will likely claim the alleged murder was carried out ‘without clearance and transparency’ and that the ‘hit squad’ of 15 Saudi assassins will be punished, the sources said.
Previously, sources in British intelligence have been quoted by Reuters as saying they believe there had been an attempt to drug Khashoggi inside the consulate that culminated in an overdose.
Turkish officials have said that authorities have an audio recording indicating that Khashoggi was killed in the consulate, and have shared evidence with countries including Saudi Arabia and the United States.
Saudi Arabia have continued to deny any role in Khashoggi’s disappearance.
Meanwhile, U.N. human rights chief Michelle Bachelet called for the immediate and ‘absolute’ lifting of diplomatic immunity enjoyed by any officials or premises in the Khashoggi investigation.
Ms Bachelet said the ‘inviolability or immunity’ of people or premises granted under the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations ‘should be waived immediately.’
She said Tuesday the ‘onus is on the Saudi authorities’ to reveal what happened, and insisted ‘no further obstacles’ should be placed in the way of a quick, thorough, impartial and transparent investigation.
Bachelet stopped short of calling for an international investigation.
Today: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (left) arrived in Saudi Arabia to quiz King Salman (right) over the mystery
‘I hope you are comfortable here,’ the king told Pompeo who responded, ‘Thank you for accepting my visit on behalf of President Trump’
President Trump said in a visit to Georgia on Monday that ‘nobody knows’ if the Saudi report is real yet
Trump said in a Monday morning tweet that he would send a top U.S. official, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, to Middle East to confront Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in person
This morning, Google and a number of banks, including HSBC, have become the latest companies to boycott a business conference in Saudi Arabia next week.
Google said in a statement that Google Cloud Chief Executive Diane Greene would not attend the Future Investment Initiative Summit starting in Riyadh on Tuesday.
This was followed by statements from HSBC, Standard Chartered and Credit Suisse which said their chief executives will no longer be travelling to Riyadh for the conference.
Many American companies, including Uber, Viacom and Ford, have pulled out of the three-day conference, known as Davos in the Desert.
Britain’s trade secretary Liam Fox and US treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin are still due to attend.
Last night, a team of Turkish and Saudi officials entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul for a joint inspection two weeks after Khashoggi went missing.
At least a dozen officials arrived in unmarked police cars at 6pm local time and mingled outside the building before filing inside.
The inspection was agreed after Saudi King Salman and Turkish President Erdogan spoke yesterday for the first time since Turkey accused the Saudis of killing and dismembering Khashoggi who criticised the Saudi crown prince.
Just hours before the forensic inspection, the Saudis let in a team of cleaners armed with several large mops and buckets.
THE DISAPPEARANCE OF JAMAL KHASHOGGI: A TIMELINE
What happened? Jamal Khashoggi has been missing since October 2
Here is a timeline of events in the disappearance of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a US resident, not seen since he entered the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul on October 2.
At 1.14pm (10.14amGMT) on October 2, Khashoggi is recorded entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul by a surveillance camera. The image is published by the Washington Post.
He was at the consulate to receive an official document for his upcoming marriage. His fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, accompanies him but waits outside.
On October 3 the Washington Post, for whom Khashoggi writes opinion pieces, raises the alarm, saying the journalist has not been seen since he entered the consulate.
His fiancee camps out near barricades in front of the Saudi consulate hoping for news.
Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin tells a news conference: ‘According to information we have this individual… is still at the consulate as of now’.
The US State Department says it is investigating.
On October 4, after an initial period of silence, Saudi Arabia says Khashoggi disappeared ‘after he left the consulate building’.
The Saudi ambassador is summoned to the Turkish foreign ministry.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman tells Bloomberg that Khashoggi is not inside the consulate and ‘we are ready to welcome the Turkish government to go and search our premises,’ which is Saudi sovereign territory.
A government source says Turkish police believe Khashoggi was murdered inside the consulate.
‘Based on their initial findings, the police believe that the journalist was killed by a team especially sent to Istanbul and who left the same day,’ the source tells AFP. Riyadh calls the claim ‘baseless’.
Turkey seeks permission to search Saudi Arabia’s consulate, and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, commenting for the first time, says he will wait for the outcome of the investigation before taking a decision.
Erdogan asks Riyadh to ‘prove’ its claim that Khashoggi left its consulate.
US President Donald Trump says he is ‘concerned’. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo calls for a ‘thorough’ and ‘transparent’ probe by Washington’s ally Saudi Arabia into the disappearance.
Saudi Arabia agrees to let Turkish authorities search the consulate, the Turkish foreign ministry says.
Local media report on the possibility that Khashoggi was kidnapped and taken to Saudi Arabia.
English-language state broadcaster TRT World says Turkish officials believe the Saudis may have taken the consulate’s CCTV footage with them when they returned to the kingdom.
CCTV footage released by Turkish TV shows a van entering the consulate on October 2, before going to the nearby consul’s residence.
The Washington Post, citing US intelligence intercepts, says Saudi Arabia’s crown prince ordered an operation to trap Khashoggi.
The US State Department says it had not been tipped off about such an operation.
Trump calls for explanations from Saudi Arabia, saying he has talked ‘more than once’ and ‘at the highest levels’ to partners in Riyadh. He says he has been in contact with Khashoggi’s fiancee, who has asked for his help.
British entrepreneur Richard Branson suspends two directorships linked to tourism projects in Saudi Arabia.
Several prestigious partners cancel their planned attendance at the end of the month at the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh, a lavish conference dubbed the ‘Davos in the Desert’.
JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon and Ford chairman Bill Ford are among those to pull out of the Riyadh event.
Turkish police investigators and prosecutors conduct an eight-hour overnight search of the Saudi consulate, taking away samples.
Trump says he received a strong denial from King Salman of any involvement in the disappearance of Khashoggi.
‘It sounded to me like maybe these could have been rogue killers. Who knows?’ Trump tells reporters.
The next day, US top diplomat Mike Pompeo arrives in Riyadh for urgent talks with the king and crown prince.
A Turkish crime scene investigation team member inspects the roof of the Consulate General of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul on Monday night
Crime scene officers from the Turkish police investigated every inch of the consulate on Monday night
Turkish police officers gather as they prepare to enter the Saudi Arabia’s Consulate as evening draws in on Monday
Oil prices rise and the Riyal dips
On Monday morning Benchmark Brent crude oil jumped by $1.49 a barrel to a high of $81.92.
The riyal was quoted at 3.7524 to the US dollar in the spot market early on Monday, its weakest rate since September 2016, Refinitiv data showed.
It comes after Saudi Arabia issued a thinly veiled threat to cut oil production if the US imposes sanctions over the disappearance.
There are also fears companies will turn away from investing in the Kingdom
Searching another country’s consulate – which is considered foreign soil under the Vienna Convention – is an extraordinary measure which reflects the gravity of the diplomatic crisis.
A Turkish official yesterday claimed the consulate walls have been repainted since the alleged murder and said the Turks don’t trust the Saudis not to obfuscate the investigation, reported the Middle Eastern Eye.
On Monday, U.S. President Donald Trump speculated ‘rogue killers’ were to blame after revealing the Saudi king denied any murder plot during a phone conversation between the pair last night.
Speaking to reporters in the White House, Trump said King Salman’s denial ‘could not have been stronger.’
‘He said it very strongly,’ Trump said when pressed to say whether he believed the Saudi king.
He added: ‘It sounded to me like maybe these could have been rogue killers. Who knows?’
‘I heard that [CNN] report, but nobody knows if it’s an official report,’ he said in Georgia. ‘So far, it’s just a rumor of a report coming out.’
Jamal Khashoggi (right) arriving at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul on October 2. He has not been seen since and Turkey has accused Saudi agents of murdering him
Missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi, pictured in Switzerland in 2011, may have been murdered because he knew too much about the Saudi royal family, one of his friends has said
President Trump has previously said he does not want to halt a proposed $110 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia – as some in Congress have suggested – because it would harm the US economically.
However, on Monday, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow warned that the United States would ‘take stern action with the Saudis if necessary.’
Khashoggi, who was notoriously critical of Saudi Arabia’s new Crown Prince, entered the consulate on 2 October to get documents to marry his Turkish fiancee – but has not been seen since.
Turkish officials have said they fear a Saudi hit team killed and dismembered Khashoggi.
Saudi Arabia has called such allegations ‘baseless’ but has not proved the writer ever left the consulate.
Saudi Arabia said Monday that the Crown Prince has ordered an internal investigation of the disappearance, and an released a statement thanking Turkey for the co-operation in which they praised President Erdogan ‘appreciating the fraternal, distinguished, historical and close relations between the two countries’.
While Turkey and the kingdom differ on political issues, Saudi investments are a crucial lifeline for Ankara amid trouble with its national currency, the Turkish lira.
Jeremy Hunt backs urgent probe into disappearance of Saudi journalist
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has confirmed his support for an urgent investigation into the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, during a meeting with his Turkish counterpart.
Mr Khashoggi, a writer with the Washington Post, was reportedly killed while visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Turkish authorities claim to have audio and video recordings of the alleged murder.
Mr Hunt met Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Monday and pledged support for a credible and thorough investigation into Mr Khashoggi’s disappearance.
Following the meeting, the Foreign Secretary said: ‘The case of Jamal Khashoggi remains deeply concerning. The UK fully supports the Turkish investigation into the incident.
‘We have been urging Saudi Arabia to co-operate fully with the investigation. There remain questions about the disappearance of Mr Khashoggi that only Saudi Arabia can answer.
‘To that end, we welcome King Salaman’s and President Erdogan’s agreement of yesterday to establish a joint working group and the Saudi decision to ask the prosecutor general to establish an internal investigation into Khashoggi’s disappearance and hold people accountable if the evidence warrants it.’
A critic of Saudia Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Mr Khashoggi was living in self-imposed exile in the US and writing opinion pieces for the Washington Post before he vanished.
Saudi Arabia denies any involvement with Mr Khashoggi’s disappearance and has dismissed the allegations as ‘baseless’.