ISTANBUL: Turkish prosecutors on Wednesday charged 20 suspects together with two former high aides to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over the brutal 2018 homicide of Riyadh critic Jamal Khashoggi.
Prosecutors accuse Saudi Arabia’s deputy intelligence chief Ahmed al-Assiri and the royal courtroom’s media tsar Saud al-Qahtani of main the operation in opposition to Khashoggi and giving orders to a Saudi hit crew.
Khashoggi, 59, a commentator who wrote for The Washington Submit, was killed after he entered the Saudi consulate on October 2, 2018, to acquire paperwork for his marriage ceremony to Turkish fiancee Hatice Cengiz.
The Saudi insider-turned-critic was strangled and his physique reduce into items by a 15-man Saudi squad contained in the consulate, in line with Turkish officers. His stays have by no means been discovered regardless of repeated calls by Turkey for the Saudis to cooperate.
Riyadh insists he was killed in a “rogue” operation.
However the CIA, a UN particular rapporteur and Ankara have instantly linked the Saudi crown prince to the killing, a cost vehemently denied.
Cengiz on Wednesday welcomed the fees, describing the prosecutor’s determination as a “good step towards justice”.
She urged the US Nationwide Director of Intelligence to publish a report on who’s chargeable for the homicide, and referred to as on Washington to hold out “an international investigation”.
“Not holding Jamal’s real killers accountable gives those officials a green light to continue their oppression of their people (and) sends the wrong message to the world that the wealthy and powerful are above the law.” Turkey carried out its personal investigation after being sad with Saudi Arabia’s explanations.
The Istanbul prosecutor’s workplace mentioned in a press release that Assiri and Qahtani had been charged with “instigating the deliberate and monstrous killing, causing torment”.
The homicide precipitated relations between Ankara and Riyadh — longstanding rivals — to worsen.
Saudis, who take pleasure in investing and holidaying in Turkey, had been urged to boycott the nation final yr.
Turkey in the meantime is a key backer of Qatar, particularly after a Riyadh-led financial blockade started in opposition to the Gulf state in 2017, and is accused of supporting teams together with the Muslim Brotherhood. Saudi Arabia views the Brotherhood as an existential risk.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed Ankara won’t surrender the case.
“This happened in my country, how am I not going to follow up on that? Of course I’m going to follow up. This is our responsibility,” Erdogan informed Fox Information final yr.
Eighteen different suspects — together with intelligence operative Maher Mutreb who ceaselessly travelled with the crown prince on international excursions, forensic professional Salah al-Tubaigy and Fahad al-Balawi, a member of the Saudi royal guard — had been additionally charged with “deliberately and monstrously killing, causing torment”. They face life in jail if convicted.
Mutreb, Tubaigy and Balawi had been amongst 11 folks on trial in Riyadh.
Western officers mentioned lots of these accused defended themselves by saying they had been finishing up Assiri’s orders, describing him because the operation’s ringleader.
5 unnamed folks had been sentenced to demise in Saudi Arabia in December whereas three others had been handed jail phrases totalling 24 years over the killing.
Qahtani had been investigated however he was not charged by the Saudi authorities due to “insufficient evidence” whereas Assiri was charged however ultimately acquitted on the identical grounds.
The Turkish prosecutor mentioned a trial in absentia could be opened in opposition to the 20 suspects however didn’t give a date.
The prosecutors have already issued arrest warrants for the suspects who are usually not in Turkey.
Revealed in Daybreak, March 26th, 2020