Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi murder suspect arrested in France

A SUSPECT OF THE assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has been arrested in France, said a French judicial official.

The official said the suspect was being held on Tuesday on the basis of a Turkish arrest warrant.

French radio RTL said Saudi suspect Khalid Aedh Al-Otaibi was arrested at Charles de Galle airport near Paris as he attempted to board a flight to Riyadh.

Al-Otaibi was one of more than a dozen Saudi officials sanctioned by the US Treasury in 2018 for the murder and dismemberment of Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul that year.

A declassified intelligence report released in February concluded that Saudi Arabia’s crown prince likely approved an operation to kill or capture Khashoggi inside the consulate.

The central conclusion of the report was widely expected given that intelligence officials reportedly reached it shortly after the brutal murder of Khashoggi, a critic of the authoritarian consolidation of power of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in October 2018.

The public attribution of responsibility amounted to an extraordinary reprimand from the ambitious 35-year-old crown prince and is likely to set the tone for the new administration‘s relationship with a country that President Joe Biden has criticized but that the White House has criticized for. also considers in some contexts as a strategic partner.

The report was released a day after a later-than-usual courtesy call from Biden to Saudi King Salman, although a summary of the White House conversation made no mention of the murder and instead indicated that the men had discussed the countries long-standing partnership.

Likewise, the state-run Saudi news agency did not mention Khashoggi’s murder in its report on the appeal, instead focusing on regional issues such as Iran and the ongoing war in Yemen. .

Khashoggi had gone to the Saudi consulate in Turkey to collect the necessary documents for his marriage. Once inside, he died at the hands of more than a dozen Saudi security and intelligence officials and others who had gathered before his arrival.

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Surveillance cameras had followed his route and those of his suspected murderers in Istanbul in the hours leading up to his assassination.

A Turkish insect planted at the consulate reportedly captured the sound of a forensic saw, operated by a Saudi colonel who was also a forensic expert, dismembering Khashoggi’s body within an hour of entering the building. It is not known where his remains are.

The prince said in 2019 he took “full responsibility” for the murder since it happened under his watch, but denied ordering it.

Saudi officials have said Khashoggi’s murder was the work of rogue Saudi security and intelligence officials.

Saudi courts announced last year that they sentenced eight Saudi nationals to prison terms for Khashoggi’s murder. They have not been identified.

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