Saudi seeks death penalty for five Khashoggi murder suspects: Prosecutor
Five Saudi officials face the death penalty over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed inside the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate, Riyadh’s public prosecutor said Nov. 15.
Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and vocal dissident, died Oct. 2 after being drugged by the accused and then dismembered, a spokesman for public prosecutor Saud Al Mojeb’s office in Riyadh said in the first Saudi acknowledgement of the manner of his killing.
According to a statement by Al Mojeb's deputy and spokesman Shaalan al-Shaalan, eleven Saudis have been indicted.
"The Public Prosecutor has requested the death penalty for 5 individuals who are charged with ordering and committing the crime and for the appropriate sentences for the other indicted individuals," Shaalan said, without naming the five.
He said 11 out of 21 suspects have been indicted and that their cases will be referred to court, while the investigation with the remaining suspects will continue in order to determine their role in the crime.
A travel ban has been imposed on a top aide to the crown prince, Saud al-Qahtani, while investigations continue over his role, Shaalan said, adding Qahtani had met the team ordered to repatriate Kashoggi ahead of their journey to Istanbul to brief them on the journalist's activities. Qahtani has already been fired from the royal court. and the person who had ordered the killing was Saud al-Qahtani, the head of the negotiating team sent to repatriate him.
Although al-Qahtani has been his close aide, Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman was not implicated in the murder, the prosecutor's spokesman claimed.
He added that the journalist’s body parts were handed over to an agent outside the consulate grounds, but their whereabouts remains unknown, as the investigation continues.
Prosecutor Al Mojeb was in Istanbul on Oct. 28 night and held talks on Oct. 29 with Istanbul’s chief prosecutor, days after he contradicted weeks of Saudi statements by saying that Khashoggi’s killing was premeditated.
He held a second round of talks with the Turkish prosecutor, İrfan Fidan, at the court house on Oct. 30 before inspecting the Saudi consulate in the Levent neighborhood.
Demirören News Agency reported that Mojeb left Turkey after he visited the Istanbul office of Turkey's National Intelligence Agency (MİT) early Oct. 31.
Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate after he went there to get documents for his forthcoming marriage on Oct. 2.
After a weeks-long denial, Saudi Arabia admitted on Oct. 25 that the journalist fell victim to a premeditated killing in the building while arresting 18 people.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had called on the Saudi prosecutor on Oct. 30 to reveal who ordered the killing as "it makes no sense to try to save certain people."
“Who sent these 15 people? As Saudi public prosecutor, you have to ask that question, so you can reveal it,” he had told reporters in Ankara.