Saudi prosecutor exonerates crown prince in Khashoggi murder

Saudi prosecutor exonerates crown prince in Khashoggi murder

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Saudi Arabia Thursday called for the death penalty against five people accused of murdering journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate, but absolved the crown prince of any blame.
Khashoggi, the Washington Post contributor and critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was injected with “a large amount of a drug resulting in an overdose that led to his death” and his body was then dismembered and transferred out of the consulate, the public prosecutor said in a statement.
It was the first Saudi confirmation of how the journalist died, but the prosecutor’s spokesman Shaalan al-Shaalan denied Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had any knowledge of the killing.
The prosecutor has requested the death penalty for the five people who “are charged with ordering and committing the crime and for the appropriate sentences for the other indicted individuals”, Shaalan said.
He did not identify any of the suspects by name.
Saudi Arabia’s allies and critics alike are pushing for an independent investigation into the murder, with Turkey at their helm.
But Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir Thursday dismissed Ankara’s request for an international probe.
“This is now a legal case and is thus in the hands of Saudi Arabia’s judiciary,” Jubeir told reporters in Riyadh.
In a swift reaction to the prosecutor’s revelations, the United States, a staunch ally of Saudi Arabia, announced it had sanctioned 17 Saudi officials “involved in the abhorrent killing”.
They included Saud Al-Qahtani and Maher Mutreb, key aides to the powerful prince, and Mohammed Alotaibi, who was the consul general in the Istanbul consulate when Khashoggi was murdered.
Qahtani, Prince Mohammed’s long-time right-hand man, “was part of the planning and execution of the operation” to kill Khashoggi, the US Treasury said.
Khashoggi, 59, was last seen entering the consulate on October 2 to obtain paperwork for his marriage to his Turkish fiancee, Hatice Cengiz.

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