By Jesse Stiller
Saudi officials confirmed on Friday, Oct. 19 that a Saudi journalist working for the Washington Post was killed at Turkey’s Saudi Consulate on Oct. 2, ending weeks of speculation about the journalist’s whereabouts, according to BBC.
Jamal Khashoggi, a permanent resident of the U.S., went missing after he walked into the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey on Oct. 2 to retrieve marriage documents, according to The New York Times’ initial story on his disappearance. The reporter was critical of Crowned Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s rule in Saudi Arabia.
A video from the consulate in Istanbul, obtained by The New York Times, shows Khashoggi entering the consulate alone to pick up the supposed documents.
Khashoggi’s fiancée, friends and the Turkish government all reported he was still in the consulate a day after his disappearance, while the Saudi Government reported that the journalist had already left, according to The New York Times.
More information has been revealed to the public that indicates Khashoggi may have been brutally tortured and promptly killed while in the consulate, while Saudi Arabia denied anything to do with the disappearance. A New York Times article published on Oct. 15 reported that Saudis were preparing to say Khashoggi was killed, but were planning to defend the death as a mere “accident.”
A New York Times article reported on Oct. 17 that an audio recording had been given to an anonymous Turkish official, who said it reveals that Khashoggi was tortured, killed and dismembered.
“‘Mr. Khashoggi was dead within minutes, beheaded, dismembered, his fingers severed and within two hours the killers were gone,’” the senior Turkish official said, according to The New York Times.
ABC News reported on Friday, Oct. 19 that, according to the senior Turkish official, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo listened to a copy of the audio, which picked up screams of Khashoggi as he was reportedly killed. The State Department later declined to confirm Pompeo had heard such a recording, but stated the agency was aware of the situation.
On Friday, Oct. 19, Saudi officials confirmed to BBC and other news outlets that Khashoggi had indeed died at the consulate, but after a fight broke out. Saudi officials denied any foul play in Khashoggi’s death, and announced the arrest of several officials in the consulate.
The Guardian reported that President Donald Trump said on Thursday, Oct. 18, one day before the official announcement, that Khashoggi may very well be dead and warned that if the Saudis had anything to do with his disappearance or death, the consequences would be “very severe.”
“‘It certainly looks that way to me, it’s very sad,’” Trump said before boarding Air Force One. “‘We are waiting for some investigations and some results … of about three different investigations.’”
In another move by the U.S. in response to Khashoggi’s disappearance, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin tweeted on Thursday, Oct. 18 that after conversing with Trump and Pompeo, he would not be attending the Future Investment Initiative Summit, an international economic development summit being held in Saudi Arabia later this month.
According to Bloomberg, Republican Congress members have called for sanctions against Bin Salman’s regime.
President Trump is accepting the Saudi explanation, much to the disdain of lawmakers. The U.S. has not announced what actions it will take against Saudi Arabia, if at all, according to The New York Times.