Turkish Prosecutors File Indictment Over Khashoggi Killing

Clay Curtis
March 25, 2020

Turkish prosecutors have formally charged two former aides of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and 18 other Saudi nationals over the 2018 killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, officials said Wednesday.

The Khashoggi killing in October 2018 sparked global outrage and tarnished the image of Kingdom, particularly its Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman.

Western intelligence agencies believe it was ordered by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman - something he denies.

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

Chief prosecutor Irfan Fidan said in a statement that 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".

She urged the US National Director of Intelligence to publish a report on who is responsible for the murder, and called on Washington to carry out "an worldwide investigation".

The killing shone a light on the extraordinary crackdown on dissent carried out by Saudi authorities under Mohammed's leadership and soured relations between Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

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In a statement, the Istanbul Attorney General's office said that an indictment had been prepared, which opens the way for a trial, the date of which is not known to date. His remains have never been recovered.

Turkey meanwhile is a key backer of Qatar, especially after a Riyadh-led economic blockade began against the Gulf state in 2017, and is accused of supporting groups including the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Turkish indictment was the latest sign that Erdogan's government would continue to highlight Khashoggi's case. Of course I'm going to follow up.

Prosecutors from the Istanbul prosecutor's office seek life sentences for 18 the 20 involved in Khashoggi's murder, while two of them were charged with "incitement to first-degree murder".

Mutreb, Tubaigy and Balawi had been among 11 on trial in Riyadh over the murder, during which sources said many of those accused defended themselves by saying they were carrying out Asiri's orders, describing him as the operation's "ringleader".

Five people were sentenced to death while three other people were found guilty of covering up the crime and were sentenced to a combined 24 years in prison.

The prosecutors have already issued arrest warrants for the suspects who are not in Turkey.

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