Saudi Arabia admits journalist Khashoggi dismembered

Saudi Arabia admits journalist Khashoggi dismembered
Khashoggi died after being drugged and then dismembered, Riyadh's public prosecutor said, in the first acknowledgement of how the journalist was killed.
2 min read
15 November, 2018
Saudi Arabia has admitted journalist Jamal Khashoggi was drugged and dismembered inside the Istanbul consulate, in Riyadh's first acknowledgement of how he was killed.

The journalist's body parts were handed over to an agent outside the consulate grounds, a spokesman for the public prosecutor's office said on Thursday. 

Five Saudi officials face the death penalty over the critic's murder, the spokesman said, relaying the results of the Saudi investigation. 

It also exonerated the powerful Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman of any involvement in the murder. The prosecutor's spokesman said Prince Mohammad had no knowledge of the operation.

The deputy chief of Saudi intelligence, General Ahmed al-Assiri, had given an order to force Khashoggi home - and "the head of the negotiating team" that flew to Istanbul had ordered his murder, the spokesman said.

Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and vocal dissident, disappeared after entering the Saudi mission in the Turkish city on 2 October to complete paperwork for his upcoming marriage.

After a series of denials and changing narratives, initially insisting Khashoggi left unharmed to then being killed in a fist fight, Riyadh admitted the murder was pre-meditated. 

Saudi Arabia has said a group of leading officials carried out the killing, but insisted that Prince Mohammad was not behind the operation - an account treated with sceptism from many, including Ankara.

The prosecutor has requested the death penalty for the five who "are charged with ordering and committing the crime and for the appropriate sentences for the other indicted individuals," an official statement published by state news agency SPA said - though no trials have taken place.

It said a total of 21 individuals were in custody in connection with the killing, 11 of whom have been indicted with investigations to continue into the others. 

Meanwhile Turkey has voiced frustration at a lack of cooperation from Saudi Arabia in a joint investigation, with Ankara leaking information and audio recording details from the murder case.

Turkey wants suspects accused over the murder to be tried in a Turkish court, because the crime occurred on its territory even though it was inside a Saudi diplomatic mission. Authorities have prepared extradition requests.