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
0

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.

------

READ MORE:

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

Saudi Arabia FM: Khashoggi murder investigations will continue until all questions are answered

France denies receiving Khashoggi tapes from Turkey and accuses Erdogan of playing games

Saudi envoy: Khashoggi murder ‘a tragedy,’ but justice will be done

------

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.


First charity art auction in Saudi Arabia hits SR4.8 million in sales

Updated 44 min 55 sec ago
0

First charity art auction in Saudi Arabia hits SR4.8 million in sales

  • The event, which featured 43 works by Saudi and Arab artists, was held at historic Nassif House in Al-Balad, Jeddah
  • Tawaf around the Kaaba 2,” a painting by Saudi artist Abdullah Al-Shalty, fetched SR 650,000, the highest price paid for any single work in the auction

JEDDAH: Art for Al Balad, the first charity auction of contemporary art in the Kingdom, achieved sales of SR 4.8 million ($1.3 million) on Wednesday.

The event, which featured 43 works by Saudi and Arab artists, all of which sold, was held at historic Nassif House in Al-Balad, Jeddah, on Wednesday. It was organized by the Ministry of Culture in cooperation with auction house Christie’s.

“It was much above our expectations; we are very happy,” said Michael Jeha, chairman of Christie's Middle East.

About 200 Saudi art collectors joined artists and other members of the Saudi and international cultural communities at the event. Bidding was highly competitive, with “Tawaf around the Kaaba 2,” a painting by Saudi artist Abdullah Al-Shalty, fetching SR 650,000, the highest price paid for any single work in the auction.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Nassif House was built in 1872. Saudi Arabia’s founder, King Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud, was received at this house upon his entry to the city in 1925.

• The Saudi government is keen to restore and preserve buildings with historic and cultural significance, and carries out regular renovation work.

• Al-Balad, or Jeddah historic district, is one of five UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Kingdom. It contains about 600 buildings that date back to the 19th century.

 

“Where to” by Prince Badr bin Abdulmohsen was the second-most expensive work, selling for SR 500,000, while “Witness in the Desert” by Abdullah Al-Sahikh attracted a winning bid of SR 380,000.

“It was extremely pleasing, very encouraging,” said Jeha. “The energy in the room was fantastic. The enthusiasm was very strong. I think for the very first auction, we can all be extremely pleased.”

Jeha described the growth of the art scene and culture in general in Saudi Arabia as very impressive, and said that the Ministry of Culture has developed a strong platform and program for the coming years, which will help to establish art and culture in the hearts and minds of people in the Kingdom.

The profits from the auction will help to establish a new heritage museum in Jeddah’s historic district and support The Help Center, a non-profit organization that provides customized support to children in the city with special educational needs.

The auction received donations and funding from galleries, cultural foundations, private collectors, and artists across the Arab World, the assistance of which was acknowledged by the Ministry of Culture.

“This would not be possible without the generous support of both the donors and the talented artists,” said Hamed bin Mohammed Fayez, deputy minister of culture, in his opening speech.

The ministry aspires to create and develop a cultural environment in which artists and other creatives can access a platform that celebrates a shared identity and builds understanding between people.

Speaking of the Ministry’s three main objectives in its cultural vision for 2019, Fayez said that it aims to support the nation’s cultural transformation by promoting culture as a way of life, enable the sector to contribute to the economy, and encourage international cultural exchanges.

Before the auction, the works on sale were on display to the public in an exhibition on June 23 and 24.