The case of the missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi is heading to a crucial stage with Turkey claiming it has audio and video recordings that prove The Washington Post contributor was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, a report says.
The recordings show Khashoggi being detained and intensely questioned by a Saudi security team after he entered the consulate on Oct 2 to get some papers before his wedding with his Turkish fiancée Hatice Cengiz, The Washington Post said.
The security team then killed and dismembered Khashoggi.
Quoting a Turkish official, the paper said one can hear voices of Khashoggi and the Saudi security officials speaking Arabic as he was questioned, tortured and finally murdered.
Saudi consulate has denied any role in Khashoggi’s disappearance and maintains that he left the building after collecting some documents.
Earlier, Turkish media, quoting officers, reported that the investigation into Khashoggi’s case had “deepened”. The possession of these recordings may have given investigators the ground to accuse Saudi Arabia of killing the journalist, the report said.
Turkey may not be inclined to play these tapes to the world as it may reveal how Ankara gathers intelligence on nations with missions on its soil, the source said.
Khashoggi, who lives in the US after fleeing Saudi Arabia, is a harsh critic of its assertive Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.
Although Khashoggi is not a US citizen, senators are demanding answers from Riyadh on the missing journalist. They may even move a legislation to impose sanctions on Saudi Arabia.
President Donald Trump too wants the Khashoggi mystery to be unravelled. However, he still hopes to main the “excellent” ties with Riyadh.
Media companies are pulling out of a Saudi investment conference over Khashoggi’s disappearance, Reuters reported on Thursday.
Journalists and executives of various major media companies, including New York Times, CNBC, Economist and Viacom have already announced their decision not to attend the event. The Financial Times is reviewing its involvement as a media partner.
Virgin Group founder Richard Branson has suspended a $1 billion investment project with Saudi Arabia.
If the reports related to Khashoggi’s disappearance are true, companies in the West may not be able to do business with the Saudi government, Branson said in a statement.