Missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi had his fingers ripped off before he was decapitated by a 15-strong hit squad, it is claimed.
Mr Khashoggi, 60, a critic of the Saudi leadership, was last seen entering the country’s consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, on October 2.
Once inside, he is said to have been tortured by the squad – allegedly including a ‘Dr Death’ and a man with ties to the Saudi Crown Prince.
He had his fingers brutally torn off as his killers spent seven minutes murdering him and dismembering his body, media reports claim.
Chilling audio footage, taken that day, reportedly captures Saudi Arabia’s Consul General telling the suspects to “do this outside”.
According to Yeni Safak , a strongly pro-government newspaper, Mohammed al-Otaibi adds: “You’re going to get me in trouble.”
In response, one of the Saudi suspects allegedly replies: “Shut up if you want to live when you return to (Saudi) Arabia.”
Today, it emerged Mr al-Otaibi has been relieved of his post, according to an official statement carried by the Sabq newspaper.
He will be investigated, although the Saudi online newspaper did not give details of the violations he is being investigated for.
Turkish officials say they believe Mr Khashoggi was murdered and his body removed – an allegation the Saudis have strongly denied.
The recording allegedly capturing the well-liked journalist being tortured and butchered alive has not been released to the public.
But Sky News reports that a “very well placed” source says the Consul General and Mr Khashoggi can be heard speaking in audio footage.
After this, there was a “beating”, the source claimed, adding that the footage later revealed the reporter was “drugged” and “killed”.
The killing is said to have taken seven agonising minutes.
We earlier reported how members of the ‘hit squad’ reportedly listened to music through earphones as they dismembered their victim.
A Turkish source, who has allegedly listened to an audio clip of the incident, told Middle East Eye (MEE): “They had come to kill him.”
It was claimed that Mr Khashoggi was dragged from the Consul General’s office into his study next door, where he was dumped on a table.
Loud screams could then be heard – which only stopped when he was injected with an unknown substance, according to the source.
Moments later, his body was allegedly cut up – while he was still alive.
Forensic evidence expert Salah Muhammad al-Tubaigy, dubbed ‘Dr Death’, has been identified by Turkey as a suspect in the killing.
The source told MEE that Tubaigy listened to music via earphones as he cut up the reporter’s body while he was still breathing.
He allegedly advised his accomplices to do the same.
“When I do this job, I listen to music. You should do [that] too,” Tubaigy could be heard saying in the recording, the source said.
According to Yeni Safak, Mr Khashoggi was told to “shut up” at one point during his ordeal, which also allegedly saw his head ‘cut’.
Today, another suspect in the Turkish police probe into the case was confirmed as Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, a Saudi diplomat.
It is thought Mutreb may have worked as a bodyguard for Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, whom he travelled extensively with.
He used to work as a diplomat at the Saudi Embassy in London, according to the New York Times , which says several other suspects have been linked by witnesses and records to Bin Salman’s security detail.
The newspaper states that at least nine of the suspects worked for the Saudi security services, military or other government ministries.
It is alleged they flew out the same day as the killing, and brought a bone saw with them for the purpose of cutting up Mr Khashoggi’s body.
Records allegedly show that two private jets chartered by a Saudi firm arrived and departed from Istanbul on October 2.
Mr Khashoggi has so far been missing for 15 days.
Turkish officials have said they have recorded evidence that he was assassinated by the hit squad, who they claim flew in via private jet.
But the Saudis have strongly denied the allegations, insisting that Mr Khashoggi left the consulate safely on the day he was last seen.
Mr Khashoggi is a US resident and Washington Post columnist who was critical of the Saudi government, calling for reforms.
He had worked at the Saudi embassies in Washington, US, and London, and was well-liked by both fellow journalists and diplomats.
He was described by one as a warm and funny man.
According to Dexter Filkins, writing for The New Yorker , he was also loyal to his principles and refused to “compromise his values”.
This “prompted the Saudi government, in 2016, to silence him,” claims Dexter, adding that Mr Khashoggi fled to the US last year.
In a move made after Bin Salman became Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, the respected journalist relocated to Virginia.
There, he penned Washington Post columns and became a prominent critic of Bin Salman, the New York Times reports.
He had visited the Saudi consulate to obtain marriage documents that would enable him to wed his Turkish fiancée.
He was caught on CCTV footage arriving at the building, but his fiancée, who waited outside, said he never re-appeared.
Reports have claimed Saudi officials are preparing a report saying he was killed during an attempt to bundle him out of the consulate.
US President Donald Trump earlier sensationally gave the country the benefit of the doubt in Mr Khashoggi’s disappearance.
US lawmakers have pointed the finger at the Saudi leadership, while Western pressure has mounted on Riyadh to provide answers.
In an interview with Fox Business Network, Mr Trump said if Saudi Arabia knew what happened in the disappearance, “that would be bad.”
“I think we have to find out what happened first,” he said yesterday.
Speaking to reporters, he also drew comparisons with the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court scandal, adding: “Here we go again with, you know, you’re guilty until proven innocent. I don’t like that.”
Mr Trump had earlier posted a Tweet saying that Bin Salman denied knowing what happened in the Saudi consulate.
Last Saturday, a Turkish newspaper reported that recordings made on Mr Khashoggi’s Apple Watch – had been uncovered by investigators.
These recordings allegedly indicated he was tortured and killed, but the report in the Sabah daily could not immediately be verified.
“The moments when Khashoggi was interrogated, tortured and murdered were recorded in the Apple Watch’s memory,” the paper said.
It added that the watch had synched with the journalist’s iPhone, which his fiancee was carrying outside the consulate.
However, technology experts have said it is highly unlikely the watch could have recorded actions inside the embassy and uploaded them to an iCloud account.
Mr Khashoggi’s disappearance has provoked an international outcry against Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter.
More media and business executives have pulled out of a planned investment conference there this month.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and his G7 counterparts have said they are “very troubled” by the case, and have insisted those responsible must be held to account.
In an earlier statement, the G7 foreign ministers said: “We, the G7 foreign ministers, of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and the High Representative of the European Union, affirm our commitment to defending freedom of expression and protection of a free press.
“We remain very troubled by the disappearance of prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Those bearing responsibility for his disappearance must be held to account.
“We encourage Turkish-Saudi collaboration and look forward to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia conducting a thorough, credible, transparent, and prompt investigation, as announced.”
Mr Hunt had previously said that questions remain about the case that only Saudi Arabia can answer.
On Monday, Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman said Britain expected the Saudi government to provide a detailed response to questions over Mr Khashoggi’s disappearance.
“We expect the Saudi government to provide a complete and detailed response,” the spokesman told reporters.
Meanwhile, members of Mr Khashoggi’s family called for an investigation in a heartbreaking statement released on Monday.
“We are sadly and anxiously following the conflicting news regarding the fate of our father after losing contact with him two weeks ago,” they said.
“The strong moral and legal responsibility which our father instilled in us obliges us to call for the establishment of an independent and impartial international commission to inquire into the circumstances of his death.”