Khashoggi Investigation

AP Photo/Emrah Gurel

Turkish Officials Claim Jamal Khashoggi Was Tortured, Beheaded

October 17, 2018 - 1:54 pm

WASHINGTON (WCBS 880/AP) -- Turkish officials claim they have audio and video evidence of the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and they claim he was tortured and beheaded at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

“These leaked recordings apparently inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, reported by Turkish media and by a Turkish official to the New York Times show that Khashoggi was tortured; badly beaten, he was dismembered, and he was disposed of at that location in Istanbul,” said CBS News Correspondent Steve Dorsey.

Earlier, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has left Turkey after meeting with the president there to discuss Khashoggi's apparent murder. On Wednesday morning, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) called it a real setback in U.S.-Saudi relations if it is proven that the Saudis had a hand in Khashoggi’s death.

An account published in the Yeni Safak newspaper alleged that Saudi officials cut off Khashoggi's fingers and then decapitated him at the consulate as his fiancée waited outside.

Al-Otaibi could be heard on the tape, telling those allegedly torturing Khashoggi: "Do this outside; you're going to get me in trouble," the newspaper reported.

One of the Saudis reportedly replied: "Shut up if you want to live when you return to (Saudi) Arabia."

But President Donald Trump on Wednesday was still critical of those blaming the Saudis.

“He’s saying that once again to him, it’s guilty before proven innocent – comparing the talk of Saudi involvement in the disappearance, if not murder, of Jamal Khashoggi with the allegations of sexual assault against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh – the idea that the Saudis… should be considered innocent before proven guilty,” explained CBS News White House Correspondent Steven Portnoy.

Trump specifically said, "Here we go again with, you know, you're guilty until proven innocent."

Trump also said the U.S. is asking Turkey for audio and video relating to missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi "if it exists."

The president on Wednesday called Saudi Arabia an important ally, noting it is an important customer for U.S. military exports.

U.S. officials say they are taking Khashoggi's disappearance seriously, but Trump says he has not sent the FBI, stressing that he was not "American citizen."

Pompeo also said Khashoggi’s disappearance is being taken “seriously,” but also told reporters in Turkey that it is the Saudis’ responsibility to investigate.

“(He) told reporters that the Saudi leaders have assured him that they’re going to conduct a very complete investigation, and that it’s incumbent on the Saudis to conduct an investigation of their own people to determine what happened at their own consulate in Istanbul before the United States should take any actions, if it will take any actions,” Pompeo said.

Meanwhile Wednesday, Turkish crime scene investigators searched the home of the Saudi consul general.

As Saudi Arabia's green national flag flapped overhead, forensics teams entered the residence, only 1.2 miles from the consulate where Khashoggi vanished Oct. 2 while trying to pick up paperwork to get married. It was the second-such extraordinary search of land considered under international law to be sovereign Saudi soil after investigators spent hours in the consulate earlier this week.

Crime-scene technicians wore white coveralls, gloves and shoe covers entering the residence. It wasn't immediately clear what investigators hoped to find there, although surveillance footage showed diplomatic cars moving between the consulate and the residence nearly two hours after Khashoggi walked into the diplomatic post.

Turkey's private DHA news agency, without citing a source, said police wanted to inspect a "water well" in the garden of the residence.

(© 2018 WCBS 880. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)