Jamal Khashoggi: Turkey charges 20 Saudis over journalist's murder

Cheryl Sanders
March 25, 2020

Saudi national and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul, Turkey in October 2018.

According to state news agency Anadolu, the other two defendants have been charged with incitement of first degree murder.

An indictment from the Istanbul chief public prosecutor's office accuses ex-deputy chief of the Saudi intelligence service, Ahmed al-Asiri, and Saud al-Qahtani, a former close adviser to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, of "instigating premeditated murder with monstrous intent".

Twenty Saudi nationals have been indicted by the Istanbul prosecutor's office, of being involved in the killing of the journalist, who often criticised Saudi royalty.

Khashoggi was murdered on October 2, 2018, in what Riyadh called a "rogue" operation by Saudi agents, plunging the kingdom into one of its worst diplomatic crises and tarnishing the reputation of the crown prince, the kingdom's de facto ruler.

His remains have never been found despite repeated calls by Turkey for the Saudis to cooperate.

Turkey carried out its own probe after being unsatisfied with Saudi Arabia's explanations.

Mutreb, Tubaigy and Balawi had been among 11 people on trial in Riyadh.

Eighteen other suspects are accused of having taken part in this murder.

A team of 15 Saudi agents had flown to Turkey to meet Khashoggi inside the consulate.

The prosecutor said the suspects were in agreement to bring Khashoggi to Saudi Arabia, and kill him if he refused to go.

The 18 suspects are accused of "acting in consensus from the beginning in line with the decision of taking the victim back to Saudi Arabia and of killing him if he did not agree".

United Nations special rapporteur Agnes Callamard, who led an investigation into the murder, welcomed Wednesday's indictment.

The statement did not provide further details, and it was not immediately clear whether the suspects would be tried in absentia. But a Saudi prosecutor said there was no evidence connecting al-Qahtani to the killing and the court dismissed the charges against al-Asiri.

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

The trial in Saudi Arabia previous year concluded that the killing was not premeditated, prompting widespread criticism of a "whitewash". As worldwide pressure mounted because of the Turkish leaks, the kingdom eventually settled on the explanation that he was killed by rogue officials in a brawl.

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