Turkey Indicts Saudi Nationals in Khashoggi Murder, Demands Life Sentences

Turkey Indicts Saudi Nationals in Khashoggi Murder, Demands Life Sentences”

Turkey is charging 20 suspects in connection with the 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The journalist - who had gone into self-imposed exile in the USA in 2017 - went to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October 2018, seeking papers to marry his fiancée Hatice Cengiz.

This assassination plunged Saudi Arabia into one of its worst diplomatic crises in addition to tarnishing the image of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, known as "MBS", designated by Turkish and American officials as the sponsor of the murder.

Saudis, who enjoy investing and holidaying in Turkey, were urged to boycott the country past year.

The private DHA news agency said the Istanbul chief prosecutor's office completed its investigation into the killing and charged 18 Saudi nationals with "deliberate murder" and two others with instigating murder.

The Riyadh authorities, after denying the murder and then putting forward several contradictory versions, claimed that the acts were committed by Saudi agents who acted alone and without orders from senior leaders.

Fidan said investigations to find other suspects who had instigated the crime, joined in with the murder, or carried out activities to destroy evidence, were continuing. But a Saudi prosecutor said that there was no evidence linking Al-Qahtani to the murder, and the court dropped the charges against Asiri, a decision criticised by human rights groups. His remains have never been recovered.

Saudi Arabia views the Brotherhood as an existential threat.

The Turkish indictment was the latest sign that Erdogan's government would continue to highlight Khashoggi's case.

"This happened in my country, how am I not going to follow up on that? This is our responsibility", Erdogan told Fox News previous year.

Prosecutors from the Istanbul prosecutor's office seek life sentences for 18 the 20 involved in Khashoggi's murder, while two of them were charged with "incitement to first-degree murder". Riyadh insists that the kingdom's courts are the correct place for them to be tried and has put 11 people on trial over the killing.

Five Saudis were sentenced to death previous year following a top secret trial in Saudi Arabia.

The suspects are all believed to be in Saudi Arabia, where prosecutors conducted a separate, closed door trial for Khashoggi's killing.

The prosecutor had already issued arrest warrants for the suspects, who are not in Turkey.

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