Head of negotiating team ordered Khashoggi killing

Saudi top prosecutor seeks death penalty in Khashoggi murder

Saudi top prosecutor seeks death penalty in Khashoggi murder

Saudi Arabia plans to execute five men who have been accused of the controversial murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist critical of Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed at the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

Turkey itself pointed the finger at Riyadh, saying that an assassination squad had arrived from Saudi Arabia with the sole objective of killing Khashoggi, who was to visit the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

"The public prosecutor has requested the death penalty for 5 individuals who are charged with ordering and committing the crime and for the appropriate sentences for the other indicted individuals", Shaalan said, without naming the five.

The prosecutor concurred with Turkish officials in saying Khashoggi's body was dismembered and "transferred outside the consulate building".

He was sacked for allegedly ordering Khashoggi to return to the consulate.

Asked whether Saud al-Qahtanti, an aide to Prince Mohammed, had any role in the case, Shaalan said that a royal adviser had a coordinating role and had provided information. The whereabouts of Khashoggi's body remains unknown.

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Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who runs the day-to-day affairs of the world's top oil exporter, had no knowledge of the mission, he added. The team killed him after the talks failed and his body was handed to a collaborator in Turkey, he added. "We are waiting for a response", the prosecution said.

Immediately after Khashoggi disappeared on October 2, Saudi officials claimed he had left the consulate on his own.

The latest Saudi account of what happened to Khashoggi was quickly dismissed by Turkey, with Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu calling the statements "unsatisfactory" and demanding the "real instigator" of the murder be identified. U.S. President Donald Trump has suggested ultimate responsibility lies with the prince as de facto ruler.

But he said investigations had "revealed that the person who ordered the killing was the head of the negotiations team" sent to ensure Khashoggi returned to Saudi Arabia from his self-imposed exile.

Khashoggi had been living in self-imposed exile in the United States since previous year.

At a press conference held in capital Riyadh, the prosecutor announced his intention to call for the death penalty against anyone found guilty of ordering and carrying out the journalist's murder.

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