Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s last words were, “I’m suffocating … Take this bag off my head, I’m claustrophobic,” according to the head of investigations for the Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah.
The paper’s Nazif Karaman described the content of an audio recording that reportedly captured Khashoggi’s murder in an interview with Al Jazeera that was published Sunday.
The audio was taken inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, where the Saudi-born journalist disappeared on Oct. 2. The murder, according to Karaman, took about seven minutes.
Karaman told Al Jazeera that the Saudis covered the floor with plastic bags before dismembering the journalist, a process that took 15 minutes and was led by Salah al-Tubaigy, the head of the Saudi Scientific Council of Forensics.
The Saudis originally said Khashoggi — a critic of the government — left the consulate alive. The Saudi government later admitted that Khashoggi was strangled inside the consulate after a fistfight. By late October, Saudi Arabia’s attorney general said he believed Khashoggi’s killing was “premeditated.”
The journalist’s body has never been found. Khashoggi, who lived in the United States, went to the Saudi consulate to obtain paperwork so he could marry his Turkish fiancee Hatice Cengiz.
On Thursday, Cengiz reacted to reports that Khashoggi’s body may have been dissolved.
“I’m unable to express my sorrow to learn about dissolving your body Jamal!” Cengiz tweeted. “They killed you and chopped up your body, depriving me and your family of conducting your funeral prayer and burying you in Madinah as wished. Are these killers and those behind it human beings? Oh my God!”
Traces of acid were found at the Saudi consul general’s residence in Istanbul.
Karaman said the Daily Sabah would publish images of the tools used by the Saudis and also release some of the audio recordings.
Over the weekend world leaders continued to discuss the Khashoggi case.
President Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed how to respond to the journalist’s murder as they broke bread Saturday night in Paris, a White House official told Reuters.
Before leaving Turkey for the trip, Erdogan said that Saudi Arabia knows the killer of Khashoggi is among a group of 15 people who arrived in his country the day before the Oct. 2 slaying.
“We gave the tapes. We gave them to Saudi Arabia, to the United States, German, French and British, all of them,” the Turkish president said. “They have listened to all the conversation in them. They know.”