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

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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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.


A Saudi app that promotes Arabic reading

Updated 37 min 57 sec ago

A Saudi app that promotes Arabic reading

  • Lamsa was launched in Saudi Arabia in 2012
  • It provides an innovative way of motivating children to learn

DUBAI: The most crucial year in a child’s education may be the age of 8, or third grade, according to a study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.The organization, which focuses on improving the wellbeing of American children, found this to be the developmental phase when children transition from “learning to read” to “reading to learn.”

The research also established that third graders who lack proficiency in reading are four times as likely to become high-school dropouts.

The significance of this pivotal point in early childhood development is what drives Badr Ward, CEO of Arabic edutainment app Lamsa, to develop innovative ways of motivating kids in the Arab world to read and learn in their language.

“If we don’t encourage reading at that age, we could be taking the risk of them having a life-long issue with catching up,” Ward said.

Since children already spend a considerable amount of their time on connected devices, Ward is convinced that edutainment — media designed to educate through entertainment — is the best way to make screen time “relevant and meaningful.”

Badr Ward, CEO of Lamsa. (Supplied Photo)

Launched in Saudi Arabia in 2012, Lamsa provides an ad-free platform featuring animated literature, rhymes, songs, interactive games and educational videos in Arabic for children aged between 2 and 8.

Ward said: “We have to face reality. Education systems across the world are legacy systems. Whether we like it or not, technology has changed the way we consume information. Children today have access to devices from the moment they are born. So whether it’s reading on paper or e-books or interactive storytelling, we need to look at encouraging them to read, and to love to read and learn.”

Ward explains that much like a favorite teacher impacts a child’s interest in a subject, edutainment has a significant effect on their curiosity about a topic.

He modelled the characters in the edutainment app after his daughter Joory and son Adam, whose lack of interest in reading prompted him to start Lamsa.

Ward sought advice from his friend Leonard Marcus, an author, historian and expert on English language children’s literature. Marcus recommended taking the kids to a comic book store and letting them explore without forcing them to buy anything.

“So I did that,” Ward said. “We went to the comic book store, and I let them roam around. They were fascinated by the images.”

“Arabic is not just a language. It’s so important for children to understand their heritage and culture.”

Badr Ward, CEO of Arabic edutainment app Lamsa

He then asked his kids if they wanted anything, and they asked to have some of the comics. “In the evening, I found my children opening the comic book and just laughing,” he said.

“Because of that start three years ago, they can’t let go of books now.”

Ward said seeing the power of images and illustrations has made him support using pictures to captivate children.

The lack of quality and culturally relevant educational material in Arabic remains a challenge, he said. For this reason, Lamsa’s content library has been developed to celebrate Arabic not just as a language but as a source of heritage, culture, literature, music and food. The app team works in partnership with Arab authors, illustrators and organizations.

“Arabic is not just a language,” Ward said, adding that for Arab children everywhere, understanding cultural context is crucial to their values, beliefs and identity.

“It’s so important in the development of children to have a clear understanding of where they come from. In order to establish understanding of other cultures and learn tolerance, you need to start with your own. It’s fundamental to confidence, identity and heritage.”

 

 The Middle East Exchange is one of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Global Initiatives that was launched to reflect the vision of the UAE prime minister and ruler of Dubai in the field of humanitarian and global development, to explore the possibility of changing the status of the Arab region. The initiative offers the press a series of articles on issues affecting Arab societies.