Istanbul prosecutor indicts Saudi suspects for Khashoggi killing

FILE PHOTO: Vigil is held at Saudi Embassy for Journalist Jamal Khashoggi
FILE PHOTO: The Committee to Protect Journalists and other press freedom activists hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Saudi Embassy to mark the anniversary of the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul in Washington, U.S., October 2, 2019. REUTERS/Sarah Silbiger/File Photo

Istanbul prosecutors said on Wednesday they had prepared an indictment against a close aide to Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and a former deputy head of general intelligence over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The prosecutor’s office accused the two men of instigating Khashoggi’s murder at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and named 18 suspects it said actually carried out the killing, which caused a global uproar.

Agnes Callamard, the U.N. investigator on extrajudicial killings who led an international probe into the crime, welcomed the move, saying it was needed as a “counter balance to the travesty of justice at the hands of Saudi Arabia”.

In a statement to Reuters, she again urged U.S. authorities to release their findings on responsibility for the death of the Washington Post columnist, “including the responsibility of Saudi Arabia crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman”.

Khashoggi was last seen entering the consulate on Oct. 2, 2018, where he had gone to obtain documents for his impending wedding. Turkish officials said his body was dismembered and removed from the building, but his remains have not been found.

Some Western governments, as well as the CIA, said they believed Prince Mohammed had ordered the killing – an accusation Saudi officials have denied.

On Wednesday, she said that Turkey’s indictment would help serve justice by shedding further light on the murder, “its premeditation and instigation by high-level officials”.

The indictment accuses former deputy head of Saudi Arabia’s general intelligence Ahmed al-Asiri and former royal court adviser Saud al-Qahtani of having “instigated premeditated murder with monstrous intent”, the prosecutor’s office said.

The list of 18 suspected killers includes a 15-strong team which flew to Turkey to carry out the operation and three intelligence officials.