Murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi begged his killers to stop suffocating him moments before his death, shocking new transcripts reveal.
The 59-year-old defiantly refused to be taken to Saudi Arabia when confronted by a Saudi hit squad responsible for his death.
Transcripts leaked to Turkish newspaper the Daily Sabah show Mr Khashoggi’s final words were: “Don’t cover my mouth.
“I have asthma, don’t do it. You’ll suffocate me.”
He was killed after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 last year.
Mr Khashoggi was attempting to obtain documents required for his upcoming wedding when he was confronted by the killers.
After being seemingly forced to go to the second floor, he was confronted by Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, described as the number two man in the 15-man hit squad.
Mutreb, who had discussed how to dispose of the body less than 20 minutes before Mr Khashoggi entered the building, told the journalist he had to go to Saudi capital Riyadh because of an Interpol warrant.
Mr Khashoggi, according to the transcripts, responded that there were no lawsuits against him, and said his fiancee was waiting outside for him.
Mutreb then ordered him to leave a message for his son, which Mr Khashoggi refused to do.
He asked how such a thing could happen at a consulate before saying: “Will you have me drugged?”
Mr Khashoggi is heard urging the hit squad not to keep his mouth closed.
The recordings reveal sounds of a struggle unfolding, while one member of the hit squad can be heard asking whether the victim is asleep, the Daily Sabah reports.
Sounds of his body being dismembered can also be heard, it is claimed, and his body is believed to have been taken out in five suitcases.
Mr Khashoggi’s fiancee Hatice Cengiz was waiting outside the consulate while the murder was carried out.
Saudi Arabia initially claimed the journalist had left, but later conceded that he had died, wrongly stating he died accidentally a fist fight.
Jamal Khashoggi murder
It is still not known where Mr Khashoggi’s body was disposed of.
The CIA ruled in the aftermath that the murder was ordered by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman – a claim which Saudi Arabia has denied.
The transcripts were collected by Turkish intelligence forces in the days after the murder, it is claimed, but the contents have not been released until now.
Five people are now facing the death penalty for the killing, which has been blamed on “low-level” officials.
However Turkey has accused Riyadh of not cooperating with its investigation.
Days before his death, on September 28, Mr Khashoggi had visited the Saudi Consulate to pick up papers needed for his marriage.
The transcripts revel that afterwards intelligence chief Ahmed Abdullah al-Muzaini, who was stationed at the Istanbul consulate, contacted Riyadh using an emergency code.
The same day the murder was discussed by Consul General Mohammad al-Otaibi, it is claimed, in a conversation with a close aide of the Crown Prince.
The killing was described as a “top-secret mission”.