Khashoggi killing: Saudis seek death penalty for 5

Published: Nov 15, 2018, 23:24 IST | IANS

Turkey, meanwhile, said it was "unsatisfied" about the Saudi prosecutor's explanation

Jamal Khashoggi
Jamal Khashoggi

Saudi prosecutors said on Thursday that they have pleaded for the death penalty for five people who they say were involved in murdering Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the country's consulate building in Istanbul in early October.

At a press conference here, Saudi Attorney General Saud al-Mojeb exonerated Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the assassination of Khashoggi, saying that a total of 11 people -- the five accused by the kingdom of directly ordering and executing the crime and six others -- were charged in the crime, according to a report in CNN.

Turkey, meanwhile, said it was "unsatisfied" about the Saudi prosecutor's explanation.

The Saudi prosecution shared details of the journalist's murder, saying Khashoggi was killed on October 2 following "a fight and a quarrel" at the kingdom's consulate in Turkey. He had gone there to get documents for his forthcoming marriage.

Prosecutors said Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and a critic of the Crown Prince Mohammad, was tied up and injected with an overdose of a sedative that killed him. His body was later chopped up and given to a local collaborator.

The Saudi Public Prosecutor's office added that former Saudi deputy intelligence chief Ahmed al-Assiri ordered a mission to force Khashoggi to go back to Saudi Arabia and formed a team of 15 people.

They were divided into three groups, it said: A negotiation team, an intelligence team and a logistical team. According to the prosecution, it was the head of the negotiating team who ordered the journalist's killing.

The prosecution also revealed that the Royal Court adviser, Saud Qahtani, was banned from travelling pending the investigation into the murder.

Qahtani led the communications team of the Crown Prince and was removed from his role last month following Khashoggi's death.

Following the Saudi move, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that his country was not satisfied about the Saudi prosecutor's explanation in the murder case.

"I want to say personally that the explanation is unsatisfying. The real instigators need to be revealed. We will follow this issue," Cavusoglu said in a televised speech, as quoted by state-run Anadolu Agency.

On Wednesday, Cavusoglu called for an international investigation into the case, reiterating that suspects of the murder should be tried in Turkey.

The Saudis had presented conflicting stories about the journalist's death, initially denying any knowledge before arguing that a group of rogue operators were responsible for his death.

After the kingdom admitted that Khashoggi was killed in its consulate in Turkey, five high-ranking officials were dismissed, including Bin Salman's media chief and the deputy head of the Saudi intelligence service, and 18 people were arrested.

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