The Apple Watch has an important role in the developing intrigue of an international incident. The missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was apparently wearing one when he entered the Saudi consulate in Turkey and never came out again.
The dissident had lived in the U.S. and written for the Washington Post, often critically about Saudi Arabia’s suppression of dissent, its sanctions on Qatar, and its war in Yemen. In Turkey, where he had connections and believed himself to be safe, he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 at 1 p.m. local time to complete some routine paperwork needed to wed his Turkish fiancée. A mysterious team of 15 men flew in from Saudi Arabia and entered the consulate a few hours before Khashoggi went in.
Turkish officials say they believe Khashoggi was slain while inside the consulate. However, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has forcefully denied this accusation. According to Reuters, the Saudi ambassador to the United States, Prince Khalid bin Salman, called reports suggesting Khashoggi was killed in, or kidnapped from, the Istanbul consulate “absolutely false and baseless,” and a product of “malicious leaks and grim rumors.”
Now both Saudi Arabia and Turkey are investigating. The investigators hope that Khashoggi’s Apple Watch can be connected to the phone he left outside the consulate, or to some other device. That heart rate and location data from the device might give clues to the 59-year-old’s fate. A sudden spike in heart rate data from the Watch, followed by sudden fall to zero, could tell a grim story indeed.
The investigators have studied surveillance camera footage of the consulate’s entrances, and noted that a black Mercedes left the consulate some hours after Khashoggi arrived, along with two other cars that were headed for the airport. But at a turnoff point, the Mercedes turned and went the opposite direction from the cars. If accessible, the GPS radio in the Watch could indicate whether Khashoggi was inside that black Mercedes, as well as where the car was headed.
On the other hand, it’s possible that Khashoggi’s captors removed the Apple Watch from his wrist or even destroyed it. It all depends on whether investigators can find a way to connect to the Watch. But the model of the Watch is not known, so it’s impossible to know whether the device has a cellular connection or just Wi-Fi.
We’ll update as we learn more.