Turkey indicts 20 Saudis in Khashoggi’s killing

  • >> Carlotta Gall, The New York Times
    Published: 2020-03-26 12:11:08 BdST

The Committee to Protect Journalists and other press freedom activists hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Saudi Embassy to mark the anniversary of the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul in Washington, US, Oct 2, 2019. REUTERS

Turkish officials Wednesday announced the indictments of 20 Saudi nationals on charges of murder and incitement to murder in the killing of the dissident writer Jamal Khashoggi, concluding their investigation into the case.

In a statement, the Istanbul prosecutor’s office said the indictments, which have yet to be made public, would show the attack had been planned. It said Khashoggi had been strangled and dismembered in a planned murder inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct 2, 2018. The same conclusion had been reached by US intelligence.

The prosecutor’s statement said that arrest warrants had been issued for the 20 men and “red notices” — detention requests to the world’s governments — issued via Interpol for all of them. Documents have also been prepared to request those in the indictment be handed over to Turkey.

But Saudi Arabia has not granted Turkish investigators access to the accused in Saudi Arabia and is unlikely to cooperate in any extradition. The case is also unlikely to come to trial since none of the men are in the country and Turkish law demands the presence of the defendants for a trial.

The killing of Khashoggi, 59, a well-known former Saudi official and writer who became a critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader, drew condemnation around the world. US intelligence officials had concluded that since his close aides were involved, the prince had ordered Khashoggi’s killing.

A UN investigation completed last year also found that the killing had been carefully planned and endorsed by high-level Saudi officials.

Saudi Arabia has denied any high-level involvement in the killing. It began its own, largely secret proceedings against some of the men involved, but not the more senior officials whom Turkey holds responsible. Saudi Arabia also brought its own trial against 11 people involved. In December, a Saudi court sentenced five people to death and three to prison terms in the case.

The Turkish prosecutor’s statement named 18 men who were indicted on a charge of murder with monstrous intent and inflicting grave torment. Two others — the former deputy head of Saudi general intelligence, Ahmed al-Asiri, and a former adviser to the crown prince, Saud al-Qahtani, both close aides to Crown Prince Mohammed — were indicted on a charge of incitement to murder.

© 2020 New York Times News Service