Dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi is heard repeatedly saying “I can’t breathe’’ in the horrific final moments before his death on Oct. 2 in Turkey, according to a report Monday.
Khashoggi, a columnist for the Washington Post, did not die as a result of a confrontation gone bad as Saudi Arabian officials have claimed. But he was instead the victim of a planned execution, CNN reported, citing a source who read a translated transcript of an audio recording.
The CNN source describes Khashoggi as struggling against his assailants inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and fighting for air as he says “I can’t breathe’’ three times in a row.
We could not independently confirm the CNN report.
Khashoggi appears to still be alive when screams, gasps and the sound of a saw are heard on the audiotape, the source told CNN. Turkish officials, who had the original copy of the recording, have said Khashoggi’s body was dismembered with a bone saw.
In the recording, Salah Muhammad al-Tubaiqi, head of forensic medicine at Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry, is heard sharing advice with the perpetrators in performing the gruesome task.
“Put your earphones in, or listen to music like me.’’
The CNN source also said the transcript indicates phone calls were made, presumably updating high-level figures in the Saudi government on the proceedings.