Saudi Arabia charges 11 in relation to Khashoggi murder

| 16.11,18. 02:55 AM |

Saudi Arabia charges 11 in relation to Khashoggi murder

Saudi Arabia’s chief prosecutor’s office on Thursday announced it had charged 11 out of 21 suspects in relation to the murder early last month of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

At a press conference held in capital Riyadh, the prosecutor announced his intention to call for the death penalty against anyone found guilty of ordering and carrying out the journalist’s murder.

The prosecutor’s office also said it was awaiting Turkey's response to its request for additional evidence and audio recordings of the crime.

In a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), the prosecutor’s office said that fresh information had been provided by a joint Saudi-Turkish team, along with interrogations of 21 suspects now in custody.

“After summoning three additional suspects, the public prosecutor has indicted 11 individuals whose cases will now be referred to court,” the statement read.

It added: “The remaining suspects will be investigated in order to determine their role in the crime.”

It went on to assert that the public prosecutor had requested the death penalty for five individuals who had been implicated in ordering and committing the murder “and for appropriate sentences [to be handed down against] the remaining indicted individuals”.

The public prosecutor, the statement went on, has requested “that the Turkish authorities sign a special cooperation mechanism specific to this case with a view to providing them with results of the investigation, pursuant to Saudi law, and obtaining the relevant evidence and information now in possession of the Turkish authorities”.

In a subsequent statement, Saudi Deputy Public Prosecutor Shalaan al-Shalaan said that investigations had revealed that the issue began on Sept. 29, when “an order was issued to bring the victim back [to Saudi Arabia] by means of persuasion, and -- if persuasion fails -- to do so by force”.

“Former Deputy President of the General Intelligence Presidency (GIP) issued this order to the leader of the mission,” al-Shalaan said.

He added: “The leader of the mission formed a 15-member team that consisted of three groups… to persuade and return the victim.”

“The leader of the mission contacted a forensics expert to join the team for the purpose of removing evidence from the scene in the event that force had to be used,” al-Shalaan continued.

“The forensics expert joined the team without the knowledge of his superiors,” he added.

“After surveilling the consulate, the head of the team concluded that it would not be possible to transfer the victim by force... so the head of the team decided on murder,” he asserted.

“The investigation concluded that the crime was carried out after a physical altercation with the victim where he was forcibly restrained and injected with a large amount of a drug, resulting in an overdose that led to his death,” the statement read.

“After the murder, the victim’s body was dismembered by the individuals that had committed the murder and was transferred outside the consulate building,” it went on.

“The individual who delivered the body to the collaborator has been identified,” according to the statement.

Khashoggi, a frequent contributor to The Washington Post, was killed on Oct. 2 inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

After weeks of denying any involvement in the crime, Saudi Arabia later admitted that Khashoggi had been killed inside the consulate but claimed the Saudi royal family had no prior knowledge of any plot to murder the journalist.

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