Saudi prosecutor seeks death penalty for suspects in Khashoggi's killing

Nov 16, 2018, 01:31
Saudi prosecutor seeks death penalty for suspects in Khashoggi's killing

Saudi Arabia has requested Turkey sign a cooperation deal on a probe into the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, killed and dismembered in his country's Istanbul consulate, the prosecution said Thursday.

Al-Shalan said that Khashoggi's killers had set in motion plans for the operation on September 29 - three days before his slaying in Istanbul.

Implicated in the murder are the once-powerful deputy chief of Saudi Arabia's intelligence, General Ahmed al-Assiri, who gave the order to repatriate Khashoggi, and an unnamed "head of the negotiating team" who flew to the Istanbul consulate had ordered his murder, Shaalan said.

He said 11 out of 21 suspects have been indicted and will be referred to court, while investigations of the remaining suspects will continue to determine their role in the crime.

Among the differences between the United States and Saudi statements on Thursday (Friday NZ time), Treasury's account appeared to indicate a planned killing, while the Saudi prosecutor said the decision to kill Khashoggi was made on site by a minor official, presumably one of the agents who had been sent to bring him back to Saudi Arabia.

Al-Jubeir said the kingdom is investigating and holding those responsible to account "to make sure this doesn't happen again".

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Turkish authorities have been selectively leaking information to local media, including alleged recordings of the killing. Erdogan did not elaborate on how and when the Saudi official heard the recording of the killing of the Saudi citizen.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has said the order for the operation came from the highest level of Saudi leadership but probably not King Salman, putting the spotlight instead on his 33-year-old heir.

Attiah, on Twitter, highlighted an October report saying the CIA intercepted Saudi government intelligence suggesting they plotted Khashoggi's execution for some time. The Washington Post identifies the other two men as close advisers to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the man on whom considerable suspicion rests as the real author of the plot.

The Saudi prosecutor in the Khashoggi case also announced that he would seek the death penalty against five of the defendants, another attempt to show a seriousness of objective.

A statement by Saudi Prosecutor Saud al-Mojeb, circulated by Saudi Press Agency, concluded that the murder had been authorized by a minor official.

Turkey has called for an global investigation into the murder, and has previously hinted that the Saudi authorities were not keen on genuinely cooperating with their investigation.

Immediately after Khashoggi disappeared on October 2, Saudi officials claimed he had left the consulate on his own.

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Mr Shaalan said that Riyadh has asked Ankara to share the results of its investigation and recordings of the killing.

Asked about possible worldwide sanctions in response to the case, Adel al Jubeir told reporters there was a difference between sanctioning individuals and holding the Saudi government responsible.

He added that the 15-person team involved in Khashoggi's murder should be tried in Turkey. "This process can not be closed down in this way".

Khashoggi had been living in self-imposed exile overseas for almost a year.

Khashoggi had gone to the consulate in Istanbul to obtain documents for his upcoming marriage.

Erdogan has said Turkey also played the recordings to Saudi officials, something Shalaan declined to confirm or deny.

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The Kingdom of Bahrain reiterated its strong support for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and said its actions on the issue of the citizen Jamal Khashoggi, which was clarified by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia and the Saudi Attorney General.

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