Turkey charges 20 Saudis over Khashoggi’s murder

by Rushda Fathima Khan

Source: AP

Istanbul prosecutor’s office said it had prepared an indictment against 20 suspects over the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, including the former deputy head of Saudi Arabia’s general intelligence and a former royal adviser.

Khashoggi’s killing in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2018 caused a worldwide uproar, damaging the image of Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Riyadh initially denied the event and later downplayed the killing of Kashoggi, a critic of the Saudi regime.

Saudi officials have denied the allegation of some Western governments, as well as the CIA, who speculate Prince Salman had authorized the murder.

The prosecutor’s office said the indictment accuses former deputy head of Saudi Arabia’s general intelligence Ahmed al Asiri and former royal court adviser Saud al Qahtani as having “instigated premeditated murder with monstrous intent”.

It also accuses 18 others of carrying out the killing of Khashoggi, a US resident and columnist for the Washington Post, the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

The indictment was based on analysis of mobile phone records of the suspects, records of their entry and exit into Turkey and presence at the consulate, witness statements and analysis of Khashoggi’s phone, laptop and iPad, the statement said.

Saudi Arabia’s media ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In December, a Saudi court sentenced five people to death and three to jail over Khashoggi’s murder.

However, a Saudi prosecutor said there was no evidence connecting Qahtani to the killing and the court dismissed charges against Asiri.

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, Adel al Jubeir, had said in December 2018 that the kingdom does not extradite its citizens in response to a question about a Turkish court’s earlier arrest order for two Saudi suspects in the murder.

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