–Eleven people have been charged with Khashoggi’s killing, Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman not implicated in murder
RIYADH: Eleven people have been charged in the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi who went missing after last being seen at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.
Saudi prosecutors have requested the death penalty for five of the accused, whom they say ordered and supervised Khashoggi’s murder at the consulate, Al-Arabiya reported.
Saudi Al-Mojeb told journalists in a rare press conference in Riyadh on Thursday that Khashoggi’s killers had set in motion plans for the killing on Sept 29, three days before he was killed inside the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul.
According to the Al-Arabiya report, the prosecution said that someone had disabled the security cameras inside the consulate before committing the crime.
A spokesperson for the prosecution said that Turkey had been asked to provide the Kingdom with evidence related to the case, the report added.
The spokesperson also said that a team had been formed on the orders of the former deputy intelligence chief to return Khashoggi’s body, Al-Arabiya reported.
A former Saudi adviser was also involved in the planning of the murder, the spokesperson said, adding that the head of the team tasked with convincing the journalist to return to the Kingdom was also the person who made the decision to murder him, the report stated.
According to the prosecution, Khashoggi’s body had been dismembered after his murder, moved outside the consulate and handed over to a local collaborator. Additionally, the accused had given the ex-deputy intelligence chief an untruthful report and denied killing him initially, the report added.
The 59-year-old journalist, who was considered close to the Saudi royal family, had became a critic of the current government and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the 33-year-old heir apparent who has introduced reforms but shown little tolerance for criticism.
Khashoggi had been living in self-imposed exile in the United States since last year. As a contributor to the Washington Post, he has written extensively about Saudi Arabia, including criticism of its war in Yemen, its recent diplomatic spat with Canada and its arrest of women’s rights activists after the lifting of a ban on women driving.
Those policies are all seen as initiatives of the crown prince, who has also presided over a roundup of activists and businessmen.
A prosecutor said that Salman had not been implicated in the murder.
The ruling comes days after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke directly to the crown prince, telling him that those who were involved in Khashoggi’s killing should be held ‘accountable’.
Pompeo had on Nov 1 indicated that sanctions would soon be imposed on those responsible for the journalist’s murder.