Originally appeared on The American Conservative.
Turkish authorities claim to have audio and video recordings that prove Saudi agents tortured and then murdered Jamal Khashoggi:
The recordings show that a Saudi security team detained Khashoggi in the consulate after he walked in on Oct. 2 to obtain an official document before his upcoming wedding, then killed him and dismembered his body, the officials said.
The audio recording in particular provides some of the most persuasive and gruesome evidence that the Saudi team is responsible for Khashoggi’s death, the officials said.
“The voice recording from inside the embassy lays out what happened to Jamal after he entered,” said one person with knowledge of the recording who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss highly sensitive intelligence.
“You can hear his voice and the voices of men speaking Arabic,” this person said. “You can hear how he was interrogated, tortured and then murdered.”
The existence of these recordings would explain how Turkish authorities knew what the Saudi agents had done to Khashoggi and how they had done it. Such recordings would provide definitive proof to support the charges made against the Saudi government. Our government should press Turkish officials to share this proof with the U.S. and their other allies. The fact that Turkey is willing to disclose that it has this evidence suggests that they are prepared to go to great lengths to keep the Saudi government from getting away with this. No one honestly doubts at this point that the Saudi government had the prominent critic murdered in their consulate, but evidence of the crime will lend support to efforts to hold the Saudis accountable.
Fortunately, the Saudi government is already paying a price in the court of public opinion. Some media companies and businesses that had been willing to participate in Saudi-hosted events and work on joint projects with the government have startedabandoning the kingdom. Even one of the lobbying groups that had been working on public relations for Saudi Arabia has decided to quit. It is strange and unfortunate that Mohammed bin Salman can preside over an atrocious war in Yemen in which Saudi coalition forces are responsible for numerous war crimes and for creating the world’s worst humanitarian crisis without provoking the same negative reaction, but I suspect that is a result of the overall neglect of Yemen’s plight in international media. While the blame for Khashoggi’s murder has been squarely and correctly laid at the crown prince’s feet, there has not been the same willingness to attribute Saudi coalition war crimes and the mass starvation of Yemenis to the war’s Saudi architect. Perhaps that will begin to change now that Western media outlets and politicians have a better appreciation for the kind of man the de factor ruler of Saudi Arabia is.
Daniel Larison is a senior editor at The American Conservative, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and is a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Dallas. Follow him on Twitter. This article is reprinted from The American Conservative with permission.