Turkey Charges 20 in Khashoggi Killing

Istanbul prosecutor indicts Saudi suspects for Khashoggi killing

Turkish prosecutors on Wednesday charged 20 suspects including two former top aides to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over the brutal 2018 murder of Riyadh critic Jamal Khashoggi.

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 indictment also calls for life sentences for 18 other Saudi nationals charged with carrying out "a premeditated murder with the intent of [causing] torment through fiendish instincts".

Khashoggi, 59, a veteran journalist and columnist for The Washington Post, was killed in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul in October 2018 by a team of agents dispatched to Turkey by senior Saudi officials, according to Turkish and Saudi prosecutors.

The CIA concluded that Mohammed had likely ordered the killing, which the crown prince has denied.

The charges were based on witness statements, an analysis of Khashoggi's digital devices, and records of the people entering and leaving Turkey, the statement said.

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

The killing shone a light on the extraordinary crackdown on dissent carried out by Saudi authorities under Mohammed's leadership and soured relations between Saudi Arabia and Turkey. His remains have never been recovered.

The latter announcement appeared to be a sign that the Turkish government could still indict bin Salman who has been accused of ordering the killing.

Mutreb, Tubaigy and Balawi had been among 11 on trial in Riyadh, during which sources said many of those accused defended themselves by saying they were carrying out Assiri's orders, describing him as the operation's "ringleader".

In December, a court in the kingdom sentenced five unnamed people to death and jailed three more over the murder.

The trial in Saudi Arabia past year concluded that the killing was not premeditated, prompting widespread criticism of a "whitewash".

The Turkish prosecutor said a trial in absentia would be opened against the 20 suspects but did not provide a date. But a Saudi prosecutor said there was no evidence connecting al-Qahtani to the killing and the court dismissed the charges against al-Asiri.

The prosecutors have already issued arrest warrants for the suspects who are not in Turkey.

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