Will Turkey reveal where Jamal Khashoggi’s remains lie? The trial in absentia begins for twenty Saudis charged with murder, where new evidence could emerge
- The trial will be closely monitored for any new information or evidence
- Prosecutors have charged 20 Saudi nationals with the gruesome murder of Khashoggi
- They seek life sentences for the defendants, who have all left Turkey
A Turkish court has opened trial by default of two former assistants to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and 18 other Saudi nationals over the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.
The trial in Istanbul will be closely monitored for any new information or evidence regarding the murder, including the whereabouts of Mr Khashoggi’s remains.
Prosecutors have sued the 20 Saudi nationals for the horrific murder of Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018, causing mistrust of Prince Mohammed.
They seek life sentences for the defendants, who have all left Turkey.
Saudi Arabia has rejected Turkish requests for extradition of suspects and has tried some of them in Riyadh.
A Turkish court has opened trial in absentia of two former assistants to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and 18 other Saudi nationals over the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018 (photo)
The trial will be closely monitored for any new information or evidence for the murder, including the whereabouts of Mr Khashoggi’s remains. Depicted are guards outside the courthouse of Istanbul
Hatice Cengiz, the fiancé of the murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, leaves the Caglayan Court House after the first trial of the murder of Khashoggi in Istanbul
The procedure was widely criticized as a ‘whitewash’ and Mr Khashoggi’s family later announced that they had forgiven his murderers.
Turkish prosecutors have accused the prince’s former advisers, Saud al-Qahtani and Ahmed al-Asiri, of ‘instigating first-degree murder with the intention of causing (a) torment by a demonic instinct.’
Prosecutors are also seeking life sentences for 18 other Saudi nationals who have been charged with “committing a first-degree murder for the purpose of causing (an) torment by demonic instincts.”
Khashoggi, who lived in the U.S., had walked into his country’s consulate on October 2, 2018 for an appointment to pick up documents he could marry. He never ran away.
A team of fifteen Saudi agents had flown to Turkey to meet Mr Khashoggi within the consulate.
They included a forensic physician, intelligence and security agents, and individuals who worked for the Crown Prince’s office.
Turkish officials claim that Mr Khashoggi was killed and then cut into pieces with a bone saw.
Prosecutors have charged the 20 Saudi nationals for the horrific murder of Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018, raising suspicion of Prince Mohammed (photo)
Turkey, a rival to Saudi Arabia, had apparently bugged the Saudi consulate and shared, among other things, a sound of the murder with the CIA.
Prior to his assassination, Mr. Khashoggi had written critically about the Saudi crown prince in columns for the Washington Post.
Saudi Arabia had initially offered mixed accounts of Mr Khashoggi’s disappearance. As international pressure intensified due to Turkish leaks, the kingdom finally decided to declare that he was killed by rogue states during a brawl.
Turkish prosecutors say the suspects “acted in consensus from the beginning in accordance with the decision to return the victim to Saudi Arabia and kill him if he disagreed.”
An exterior view of the court in Istanbul today, where the trial of two former assistants of Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman and 18 other Saudi nationals in front of the assassination of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi would begin in 2018.
Riyadh had insisted that the courts of the kingdom be the right place for the suspects to be tried, and tried 11 people for the murder.
In December, five people were sentenced to death, while three others were found guilty of covering up the crime and were sentenced to 24 years in prison.
During the holy Muslim month of Ramadan in May, the son of Mr. Khashoggi announced that the family had pardoned the murderers and legally deferred the five government officials sentenced to death.