Published On: Wed, Mar 25th, 2020

Istanbul prosecutor indicts 20 Saudi suspects for Khashoggi killing

Istanbul prosecutor indicts 20 Saudi suspects for Khashoggi killing

Indictment accuses ex-deputy intelligence chief Ahmed al-Asiri and former royal adviser Saud al-Qahtani of having ‘instigated premeditated murder’

MEE and agencies Wed, 03/25/2020 – 08:02

Istanbul prosecutor’s office said on Wednesday it had prepared an indictment against 20 suspects deemed to be involved in the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

It 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”.

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It accuses 18 others of carrying out the killing of Khashoggi, a US resident and columnist for Middle East Eye and 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 from Reuters.

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

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

‘The sacrificial animal’

Khashoggi, who criticised the policies of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was murdered at Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul on 2 October.

A UN probe revealed that Saudi government agents had discussed murdering and dismembering Khashoggi before his arrival at the building, referring to the journalist as “the sacrificial animal“.

The UN report called for targeted sanctions against bin Salman’s “personal assets abroad” unless proof was produced to clear him of involvement in the crime, adding to the body of evidence implicating the crown prince in the murder.

Last year, the CIA concluded that bin Salman was behind the killing – a finding backed by every single US senator in late 2018.

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