10:17 GMT +313 December 2018
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    A man passes in front of a screen showing Jamal Khashoggi during a commemoration event of Khashoggi's supporters on November 11, 2018 in Istanbul

    Prosecution Seeks Death Sentence for Saudis Who Killed, Dismembered Khashoggi

    © AFP 2018 / OZAN KOSE
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    Saudi reporter Jama Khashoggi went missing after he entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2. Riyadh has arrested 21 Saudis as part of an investigation into the murder and is seeking the death penalty for five suspects.

    Death Penalty for Five Suspects

    Saud al-Mojeb, Saudi Arabia's Attorney General, demanded the death penalty for five defendants accused in the case of journalist Jamal Khashoggi's murder.

    "The Prosecutor General’s Office demanded to execute those who ordered and committed the murder — there are five of them," the SPA state news agency quoted the prosecutor's statement.

    These comments have fueled speculations that Khashoggi's killers will be beheaded, as this has been the most common means of execution in Saudi Arabia for decades.

    A Total of 21 Suspects Detained

    Speaking at a press conference in Riyadh, the kingdom's top prosecutor said that 21 people had been detained in the Khashoggi murder case and that 11 suspects had been charged.

    READ MORE: US Congress Wants to Cut Off Aid to Saudis Over Khashoggi, Yemen War — Reports

    According to al-Mojeb, General Ahmed al-Assiri, the former Saudi deputy intelligence chief fired in October, was the highest-level figure behind the killing. He ostensibly ordered a "negotiating team" to return Khashoggi to Saudi Arabia, while the head of the team had given the order to kill the journalist in case the operation to convince Khashoggi to return failed.

    Whereabouts Still Unknown

    Khashoggi died after being drugged and his body was dismembered; its whereabouts remain unknown despite an ongoing search, a spokesman for the prosecutor's office said. The prosecutor insisted that Crown Prince bin Salman was not implicated in the murder, echoing previous denials of the royal family's involvement.

    Saudi Arabia also asked Turkey to seal a deal on cooperation on the Khashoggi probe.

    A 'Big Mistake'

    Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, for his part, noted that Riyadh considers the murder a "crime and a big mistake." Al-Jubeir called it a "legal case" and refused to accept "any attempt to politicise it." He also pledged that the Khashoggi murder will not make Riyadh give up its policies in facing extremism.

    Turkey's Response

    Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu praised al-Mojeb's statement but said that is was "insufficient," repeating the previous claims that the murder was "premeditated."

    "We find the statement of Saudi Arabia about the murder of Khashoggi positive but not sufficient. The Saudi side will share the details of its investigation with our prosecutor's office. But we already know that the murder was planned in advance and that the journalist was first killed and the body was later dismembered," Cavusoglu said.

    "And how they would be killing and then disposing of the body was also planned, special devices were brought to the consulate general," Cavusoglu said on TRT TV channel.

    Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi reporter and Washington Times contributor, was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 to obtain marriage documents. According to the Istanbul prosecutor, he was strangled to death and dismembered shortly after entering the consulate. Saudi authorities have insisted that the killing of the columnist was a "rogue operation". Last month, Riyadh announced that 18 suspects, including security officials, had been arrested as part of a probe into the Khashoggi affair.

    Tags:
    investigation, murder, Saud al-Mojeb, Jamal Khashoggi, Turkey, Saudi Arabia
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