Saudi Arabia killing: Khashoggi chilling last column released as audio describes torture

Yeni Safak, a pro-government newspaper, said Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist who was critical of the authoritarian kingdom’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was tortured and killed after entering the building on October 2.

The newspaper published an account from audio recordings which they said reveled interrogators severing Khashoggi’s fingers while torturing him before he died.

His killers then beheaded and dismembered him, it said.

Turkish sources said the authorities have an audio recording but Ankara has not shared the graphic evidence with US or European allies who are also investigating Khashoggi’s disappearance.

Last night, Turkish authorities spent nine hours searching the Saudi consul’s residence while other crime scene teams searched the Saudi consulate.

Suspicion has been mounting over the involvement of Saudi authorities in Khashoggi’s disappearance after authorities in Turkey said they believe he was murdered inside the building, an allegation the Saudis have denied.

The Washington Post published Khashoggi’s final column in which he pleads for press freedom throughout the Arab world.

The newspaper said they received his column, titled ‘What the Arab world needs most is free expression’, after Khashoggi disappeared just over two weeks ago.

In it, he said the Arab world “is facing its own version of the Iron Curtain, imposed not by external actors, but through domestic forces vying for power”.

US President Donald Trump will meet with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who he sent to Saudi Arabia and Turkey to meet officials, at 2pm GMT today at the White House to hear a full report.

Mr Trump, who has forged closer ties with Saudi Arabia and the 33-year-old crown prince, said the United States has asked Turkey for any audio or video evidence.

US media outlets have reported that the Saudis, despite their earlier denials of involvement, will acknowledge that Khashoggi was killed in a botched interrogation.

Meanwhile, International Trade Minister Liam Fox has been told to pull out of a business conference in Saudi Arabia next week as finance ministers from France and the Netherlands and prominent banking executives have scrapped their plans to attend.

Former International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell demanded Mr Fox make it clear that he will not attend the meeting in Riyadh if the Saudi regime has been complicit in “quite extraordinary events that have breached international humanitarian law.”

Mr Mitchell told “It would be inconceivable as matters stand today that a British minister could visit and take part in a Saudi Arabian trade festival.”

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire and his Dutch counterpart Wopka Hoekstra announced today that they will not be attending next week’s conference, which is being dubbed as the ‘Davos of the Desert’.

They joined a list of high profile attendees who have pulled out of the event including the chief executives of HSBC, Credit Suisse and the London Stock Exchange.

The Dutch government also cancelled a trade mission to the oil-rich nation next month due to concerns over Khashoggi’s disappearance.

A spokeswoman for PSPS Consultants, which had organised the trip for the Dutch governement, said: “All trade missions to the country have been suspended for now”.

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