Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor seeks death penalty for 5 Khashoggi suspects

Shalaan Al-Shalaan, undersecretary and the official spokesperson of the public prosecution office, gave a briefing on the Khashoggi case. (Screenshot)
Updated 18 November 2018
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Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor seeks death penalty for 5 Khashoggi suspects

  • Investigation says Khashoggi’s body parts were handed over to a local Turkish agent outside the consulate
  • Decision to kill the journalist taken by negotiation team tasked with persuading him to return to the Kingdom

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor is seeking the death penalty for five out of 11 suspects charged in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Khashoggi was killed in the country’s Istanbul consulate on Oct. 2 by a lethal injection after a struggle, and his body was dismembered and taken out of the building, Shalaan Al-Shalaan, deputy public prosecutor and spokesman, told reporters in Riyadh on Thursday.

Khashoggi’s body parts were then handed over to a local Turkish agent outside the consulate grounds, the spokesman said as he outlined the public prosecutor’s findings in the investigation.

He added that a sketch of the agent has been prepared and will be handed over to the Turkish authorities.

He said the head of Khashoggi’s negotiation team was the one who ordered the killing of the victim, adding that investigations into the whereabouts of the Saudi journalist’s body are ongoing.

He said the mission of the team was to persuade Khashoggi, who had been living in the US, to return to the Kingdom. The decision to kill him was taken on the day in Istanbul and after the head of negotiations visited the consulate and realized it was impossible to bring Khashoggi out alive if he refused to cooperate.

In response to question a question at the press conference , Al-Shalaan said the Saudi Crown Prince did not have any involvement or knowledge of the order to kill Khashoggi.

The prosecutor said a former advisor had met the team that was ordered to repatriate Khashoggi.

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Full text: Saudi Arabia public prosecution briefing on the Jamal Khashoggi murder investigation

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The advisor, believed to be the former Royal Court advisor Saud Qahtani, has been banned from traveling and remains under investigation, Al-Shalaan said. The case has been transferred to court while investigations continue.

Saudi Arabia has requested Turkey sign a cooperation deal on a probe into the murder.

“We have requested the brotherly Turkish authorities to sign a special cooperation mechanism specific to this case in order to provide them with the results of the investigation,” Al-Shalaan said, adding that “the public prosecutor is still awaiting a response to these requests.”

He said the incident started on Sept. 29 “upon the issuance of an order to bring back the victim to the Kingdom by means of persuasion, if not, by force.”

The order was issued by the former deputy president of the General Intelligence Presidency Ahmad Assiri to the mission commander.

 

Jamal Khashoggi was killed in Turkey’s Istanbul consulate on Oct. 2. (Reuters)

The mission commander formed a 15-member team that included three groups — negotiations, intelligence and logistics — to persuade Khashoggi to return to the Kingdom.

Assiri asked Qahtani to advise the negotiations group in the team because of his previous relationship with Khashoggi. 

Qahtani believed Khashoggi had fallen under the influence of foreign groups and countries hostile to Saudi Arabia and that his presence outside the Kingdom was a threat to national security. He encouraged the team to persuade Khashoggi to return, Al-Shalaan said. 

The prosecution said the mission commander contacted a forensics expert to join the team to clear any evidence from the scene “in the case force had to be used to return the victim.”

Al-Shalaan said the forensics expert joined the team without the knowledge of his superiors.

“The investigation has concluded that the crime was carried out after a physical altercation with the victim took place,” Al-Shalaan said. “He was forcibly restrained and injected with a large amount of a certain drug resulting in an overdose that led to his death.”

“The investigation has identified those that ordered and carried out the murder, totaling five individuals that have confessed to the murder.”

The five have not been named as per standard Saudi legal procedures.

The investigation has also identified five people who removed Khashoggi’s body from the consulate building and two people who disposed of his clothes and belongings, including his watch and glasses.

The prosecution found surveillance cameras inside the consulate had been disabled, and they had identified the individual responsible.

After the killing, the mission commander wrote a false report to Assiri that Khashoggi had left the consulate building after they had failed to persuade him to return to Saudi Arabia.


Finance chiefs meet to map out Kingdom’s budget plans

Updated 18 min 1 sec ago
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Finance chiefs meet to map out Kingdom’s budget plans

RIYADH: Saudi finance chiefs have kicked off a major conference in the capital aimed at mapping out the Kingdom’s budget requirements.
Around 300 specialists representing 150 government bodies met at the InterContinental hotel in Riyadh for the Budget Forum 2020.
Minister of Finance Mohammed Al-Jadaan welcomed delegates to the second edition of the gathering organized by the Saudi Finance Ministry under the slogan “Partnership and Empowerment.”
Al-Jadaan said the ministry was focused on “partnership and commitment,” and sought to share the challenge of developing an effective budget to achieve the Kingdom’s ambitious goals.
“We are also committed to empowering financial leaderships to learn about the ministry’s programs and projects and provide training and qualification opportunities to the best international standards,” he added.
The finance chief said the budget planning process required the collaboration of multiple authorities and a clear strategy based on transparency. 
Items up for discussion at the forum included financial planning in governmental bodies, automation, and the promotion of revenues and efficient spending.
Finance Ministry steering committee chairman, Abdul Aziz bin Saleh Al-Freih, stressed the importance of the forum in getting the ball rolling at an early stage on formulating a general state budget.
Workshops were held on the sidelines of the conference focused on empowering government organizations, and a training program on financial planning and income estimations was also staged.