Middle EastSaudi ArabiaTurkey

Turkish court adds new Saudi suspects in Khashoggi case

A court in Turkey has named new suspects in the case against Saudi officials charged with the state-sponsored murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018, saying the measure is needed to help reveal the full truth behind the killing.

The court in the Turkish city of Istanbul on Tuesday held a second hearing in the trial in absentia of 20 Saudi suspects as well as six new ones in Khashoggi’s murder, including two former aides to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Turkish prosecutors accused the defendants involved in the case of “premeditated murder with monstrous intent,” and charged Saudi Arabia’s former deputy intelligence chief Ahmed al-Assiri as well as bin Salman’s close aide, Saud al-Qahtani, with orchestrating the murder.

The court also heard testimony from Egyptian political dissident Ayman Nour, one of Khashoggi’s friends, who said the 59-year-old journalist felt “threatened” by people close to the Saudi crown prince.

In September, a court in Saudi Arabia handed 20-year prison sentences to five people, while sentencing another three to seven to 10 years in jail.

The ruling was rejected by a United Nations (UN) expert as a “parody of justice.”

Khashoggi, a former advocate of the Saudi royal court who had become a critic of the Saudi crown prince, was killed and his body dismembered by a Saudi hit squad in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, where he had gone to obtain documents for his impending wedding, on October 2, 2018.

The Washington Post, for which Khashoggi was a columnist, reported in November that year that the CIA had concluded that bin Salman personally ordered his killing.

Agnes Callamard, the UN special rapporteur for extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, has said there is credible evidence that the crown prince and other ranking Saudi officials were individually liable. She has called for an independent and impartial international inquiry into the murder.

Riyadh has rejected the allegations linking the killing to bin Salman and claimed that the murder was committed by a “rogue” group.

Khashoggi’s killing damaged the ties between Ankara and Riyadh, and tarnished the prince’s international image.

Turkey has pressed the kingdom for information on Khashoggi’s dismembered body.

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