20 people who allegedly carried out diabolical death and dismemberment of Saudi born journalist Jamal Khashoggi charged in Turkey, including two aides to Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman
Alleged ‘ringleader’ Saudi deputy intelligence chief, Ahmed al-Assiri, and the royal court’s media chief Saud al-Qahtani were charged with ‘instigating the deliberate and monstrous killing, causing torment’
Eighteen other suspects, including intelligence operative Maher Mutreb who frequently traveled with the crown prince on foreign tours, forensic expert Salah al-Tubaigy and Fahad al-Balawi, a member of the Saudi royal guard – were similarly charged
Saud al-Qahtani, the Saudi royal court’s media czar is accused of giving orders to the Saudi 19-man hit team
They are charged with ‘deliberate and monstrous killing, causing torment,’ all the accused men face life in jail if convicted
Turkish prosecutors plan to try the 20 suspects in absentia, but did not give a date
Turkey has charged 20 suspects, including two former aides to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, over the 2018 murder of Riyadh critic Jamal Khashoggi.
Prosecutors accuse Saudi Arabia’s deputy intelligence chief Ahmed al-Assiri and the royal court’s media czar Saud al-Qahtani of leading the operation and giving orders to a Saudi hit team.
Khashoggi, 59, a commentator who wrote for The Washington Post, was killed after he entered the Saudi consulate on October 2, 2018, to obtain paperwork for his wedding to Turkish fiancée Hatice Cengiz.
Turkey carried out its own investigation into the murder after being unhappy with Saudi explanations.
The Istanbul prosecutor’s office said in a statement that Assiri and Qahtani were charged with ‘instigating the deliberate and monstrous killing, causing torment’.
Eighteen other suspects – including intelligence operative Maher Mutreb who frequently traveled with the crown prince on foreign tours, forensic expert Salah al-Tubaigy and Fahad al-Balawi, a member of the Saudi royal guard – were also charged with ‘deliberately and monstrously killing, causing torment’.
They face life in jail if convicted.
Charged: Deputy intelligence chief Ahmed al-Asiri [photo], released by Saudi courts due to insufficient evidence has been formally charged by Turkey with ‘deliberately and monstrously killing, causing torment’
Alleged mastermind and former royal adviser Saud al-Qahtani [left], a top aide of crown prince MBS, was charged after an investigation by the Turkish authorities. Intelligence operative Maher Mutreb [right] who frequently traveled with the crown prince on foreign tours, was also charged
Forensic expert Salah al-Tubaigy [right],and Fahad al-Balawi [left], a member of the Saudi royal guard, all previously released by Saudi authorities have now been charged. al-Tubaigy, reportedly could be heard telling others in the squad to put headphones in while dismembering Khashoggi. The victim was still alive
Commemoration for slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi, in Instanbul, Turkey in October
Mutreb, Tubaigy and Balawi had been among 11 on trial in Riyadh, during which sources said many of those accused defended themselves by saying they were carrying out Assiri’s orders, describing him as the operation’s ‘ringleader’.
The Turkish prosecutor said a trial in absentia would be opened against the 20 suspects but did not give a date.
The prosecutor had already issued arrest warrants for the suspects, who are not in Turkey.
Khashoggi, a Saudi insider-turned-critic, was strangled and his body cut into pieces by a 15-man Saudi squad inside the consulate, according to Turkish officials.
His remains have never been found.
The CIA, UN special envoy Agnes Callamard and Turkey have directly linked Crown Prince Mohammed to the killing, a charge the kingdom vehemently denies.