Murder trial for Khashoggi killing starts in Turkey, with 20 Saudi nationals as defendants

Khashoggi was killed in 2018 at the Saudi Consulate in Turkey

Updated: July 3, 2020 - 5:26pm

The murder trial for Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi starts Friday in a Turkish court, in which two former aides of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman are charged in connection with the 2018 killing.

Eighteen others Saudi nationals are also charged in connection with Khashoggi’s gruesome killing at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul that has raised suspicion that Saudi Prince Mohammed order the assassination. 

Khashoggi’s columns and other reporting had been critical of the Saudi crown prince.

The court is seeking life prison sentences for the defendants, who have all left Turkey, according to the Associated Press. 

Saudi Arabia rejected Turkish authorities' earlier demands for the suspects’ extradition but put some of them on trial in Riyadh, in proceedings considered a show trial.

Former Prince Mohammed advisers Saud al-Qahtani and Ahmed al-Asiri are charged with  “instigating a premeditated murder with the intent of (causing) torment through fiendish instinct.”

The 18 other are charged with carrying out “a premeditated murder with the intent of (causing) torment through fiendish instincts” and also face life in prison.

Khashoggi, who was a Saudi dissident and resident of the U.S., entered the Saudi Consulate in Turkey on Oct. 2, 2018, to pick up documents for his upcoming marriage.

He was instead met by 15 Saudi agents who had flown to Turkey and was never seen leaving the consulate.

Turkish officials allege Khashoggi, also editor in chief of Al-Arab News Channel, was killed and then dismembered with a bone saw. Turkey, a rival of Saudi Arabia, apparently had the Saudi Consulate bugged and has shared audio of the killing with the CIA, among others, the wire service also reports.

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