- The charges came after more than a year of investigations by Turkish and UN investigators.
- Turkey and a United Nations (UN) report categorically stated that Khashoggi was a victim of an extrajudicial and premeditated execution by the Saudi government.
- MBS accepted full responsibility for his murder, but denied prior knowledge or giving the order for his killing.
Turkish prosecutors announced on Wednesday that it had formally charged 20 Saudis, two among them very close associates of the Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, known by the acronym MBS, for the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi government.
The investigators accused the Deputy Chief of Intelligence, Ahmad Asiri, and the former adviser to the Saudi court, Saud Qahtani, of “instigating the deliberate and monstrous murder with the intention of causing suffering” to Khashoggi. The charges came after more than a year of investigations, which included testimonies, analysis of Khashoggi’s digital devices, and the history of who entered or left Turkey during the period in which the crime was committed.
Among the other 18 accused is a forensic specialist, a member of the Saudi royal guard, and an intelligence agent. The Prosecutor’s Office has thus recommended a life sentence for the accused. Turkey and a United Nations (UN) report categorically stated that Khashoggi was a victim of an extrajudicial and premeditated execution by the Saudi government.
After six-month of investigations, Agnes Callamard, the UN Special Rapporteur on arbitrary extrajudicial executions, issued her findings into the killing last October of Mr Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
“The circumstances of Mr Khashoggi’s death have led to numerous theories and allegations, but none alters the responsibility of the Saudi Arabia State. . . Saudi state agents, 15 of them, acted under cover of their official status and used state means to execute Mr. Khashoggi. . . His killing was the result of elaborate planning involving extensive coordination and significant human and financial resources. It was overseen, planned and endorsed by high-level officials. It was premeditated.”
Saudi Arabia nonetheless denies having been involved in the journalist’s murder, and says the operation could have been carried out by government members without the endorsement of MSB. Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi crown prince, said he took full responsibility for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the country’s Istanbul embassy last year, but categorically denied having given the order for his killing.
“This was a heinous crime,” the crown prince told CBS’ 60 Minutes some times back. “I take full responsibility as a leader in Saudi Arabia.” Asked why he wasn’t aware of the operation, the crown prince said he could not keep such close track of the absolute monarchy’s millions of employees. “It’s impossible that the 3 million would send their daily reports to the leader or the second-highest person in the Saudi government,” said the crown prince
Riyadh tried eight people and executed five of them for the murder. None of them, however, had their identity revealed to the public. Khashoggi fled Saudi Arabia in June 2017 and went into self-imposed exile in the US, from where he became a frequent contributor to publications like the Washington Post’s global opinions section and frequently criticized the Saudi government from abroad.
He was a sharp critic of Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman, and the country’s king, Salman of Saudi Arabia. He also opposed the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen. The journalist was killed in October 2018 when he had visited the Saudi embassy in Istanbul with his bride to retrieve a document necessary for his then-impending wedding. While she waited outside, the journalist was taken to a room in the building, suffocated and cut into pieces. His body was never found.