OCTOBER 13, 2018
Missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi recorded audio on his Apple watch of the moments he was allegedly interrogated, tortured and then killed, according to reports.
He has not been seen since he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul over a week ago after apparently giving his fiancee his iPhone, which the watch was synced with.
Turkish officials have said they believe a 15-member Saudi “assassination squad” killed Mr. Khashoggi there.
President Trump warned the US would inflict “severe punishment” if Saudi Arabia was behind his disappearance.
He told CBS: “We’re going to get to the bottom of it.”
The Saudi journalist, who has been critical of the kingdom’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is believed to have turned on the recording feature before he went inside the building on 2 October to get documents for his forthcoming marriage.
The new revelations by a Turkish newspaper, which have not yet been verified, put more pressure on Saudi Arabia to explain what happened to Mr. Khashoggi.
The pro-government Sabah paper, which claims Turkish officials now have the audio, reported that Saudi intelligence agents realized after he died that the phone was recording.
They apparently then tried to delete the recording, first by incorrectly guessing Mr. Khashoggi’s pin number on the watch, then later using the journalist’s finger.
However unlike iPhones, Apple watches do not have a fingerprint ID unlock function.
Authorities recovered the audio from Mr Khashoggi’s iPhone and his iCloud account, the newspaper said.
“The moments when Khashoggi was interrogated, tortured and murdered were recorded in the Apple watch’s memory,” it added.
Turkish officials have alleged they also have video of him being killed, but have not explained how they obtained it, nor have they published any evidence he was murdered.
However, footage around the consulate showed a convoy of vehicles with diplomatic license plates leaving for the consul’s home in Istanbul around two hours after Mr. Khashoggi’s arrival.
A delegation from Saudi Arabia has arrived in Turkey as part of a joint investigation.
The kingdom has said it had nothing to do with Mr. Khashoggi’s disappearance, without explaining or offering evidence of how the writer might have left the consulate and disappeared with his fiancee waiting outside.
Saudi interior minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Naif has condemned the “lies and baseless allegations” against the kingdom, although he praised the joint investigation with Turkey.
Donald Trump is demanding answers over the disappearance, and Sir Richard Branson and Uber chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi are among the business leaders to have suspended ties with Saudi Arabia as pressure grows on the Gulf state.
A Saudi-owned satellite news channel has begun referring to the 15-man team as “tourists,” without providing evidence to support the claim.
It echoes how Russia has described the men who allegedly carried out the novichok nerve agent poisonings in Salisbury in March.