Saudi Arabia seeks death penalty for 5 suspects in Khashoggi killing

Mohammed bin Salman
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in March.


  • Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor on Thursday said that
    11 suspects had been indicted over the death of the journalist
    Jamal Khashoggi and that he requested the death penalty for
    five of them.
  • The deputy prosecutor also told reporters that
    Khashoggi died from a lethal injection and that his body was
    dismembered and taken out of the consulate.
  • Saudi agents originally wanted to bring Khashoggi back
    to Saudi Arabia alive, the spokesman said.
  • Riyadh has repeatedly changed its narrative of
    Khashoggi’s death and tried to distance its top leadership,
    particularly Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, from the
  • The Saudi prosecutors and foreign minister separately
    said on Thursday that Crown Prince Mohammed had nothing to do
    with the killing.
  • The prosecutor also said he was waiting for Turkish
    intelligence to pass over evidence of Khashoggi’s death,
    including a purported audio recording that captured Khashoggi’s
    last moments.

Saudi Arabia is seeking the death penalty for five suspects in
the killing of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

In a Thursday statement, the Saudi public prosecutor
that 11 suspects had been indicted in Khashoggi’s death
and that he had requested the death penalty for five of them.
None of the suspects were named.

The spokesman for the public prosecutor said Crown Prince
Mohammed bin Salman had no knowledge of the killing, Agence France-Presse reported.
Crown Prince Mohammed functions as an absolute monarch in Saudi
Arabia with control over courts and legislation.

The Saudi foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir, echoed that claim,
telling a separate press conference on
Thursday: “Absolutely, his royal highness the crown prince
has nothing to do with this issue.” He added that “sometimes
people exceed their authority,” without naming any names.

The five people who were recommended for the death penalty are
charged with “ordering and committing the crime,” the public
prosecutor said.

Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist who criticized the rule of Crown
Prince Mohammed in articles for The Washington Post, died inside
the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2. He held a US green
card and lived near Washington, DC, for at least a year before
his death.

jamal khashoggi
Khashoggi at an event hosted by Middle East Monitor in London on
September 29.

Middle East Monitor via

How Khashoggi died, according to Saudi Arabia

The Saudi deputy public prosecutor, Shaalan al-Shaalan, told
reporters on Thursday that Khashoggi died from a lethal injection
after a struggle inside the Saudi Consulate and that his body was
dismembered and taken out of the consulate, according to Reuters.

The agents killed Khashoggi after “negotiations” for the
journalist’s return to the kingdom failed, Shaalan said.

He added that the person who ordered the killing was the head of
the negotiating team that was dispatched to Istanbul to take
Khashoggi home.

The whereabouts of Khashoggi’s body are not known, Shaalan added.

saudi consulate istanbul jamal khashoggi
Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, where Khashoggi


Riyadh has changed
its narrative of the death multiple times
, having initially
claimed that Khashoggi safely left the consulate shortly after he
entered and then said weeks later that Khashoggi died in a
fistfight as part of a “rogue operation.”

Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkey’s foreign minister, said that the
prosecutor’s Thursday statement was not “satisfactory” and called
for “the real perpetrators need to be revealed.”

Cavusoglu said, according to the Associated Press: “I want to say
that we did not find some of his explanations to be

He added: “Those who gave the order, the real perpetrators need
to be revealed. This process cannot be closed down in this way.”

Earlier this month Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan accused
the “highest levels” of the Saudi leadership
of being behind
the killing.

Saudi officials have repeatedly tried to distance its leadership,
particularly Crown Prince Mohammed, from the killing. There is
increasing evidence, however, suggesting that people with close
ties to the crown prince were involved in Khashoggi’s death.

Read more:

US intelligence reportedly thinks Khashoggi’s killers informed
Saudi’s crown prince once the ‘deed’ was done

In his Thursday statement, the Saudi prosecutor also said the
country had detained 21 people over the killing. Riyadh said last
month that it had
detained 18 suspects and dismissed a top general

That general has since been named by The New York Times as

Gen. Ahmed al-Assiri
, who was promoted to Saudi intelligence
last year.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip ErdoganPresidential Press Service via AP,

Riyadh wants the audio of Khashoggi’s last moments

The Saudi prosecutor on Thursday added that the office had
“submitted formal requests to brotherly authorities in Turkey”
for evidence in Khashoggi’s death, including a purported audio
recording of Khashoggi’s last moments that Turkish officials have
repeatedly mentioned since last month.

The prosecutor added that Saudi Arabia was “still awaiting a
response to these requests.”

Erdogan said last weekend that he “passed
” the tape to the US, the UK, France, Germany, and Saudi

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his country’s
intelligence agents
heard the recording
, but France said it never received it.
Britain and Germany declined to comment.

CIA Director Gina Haspel reportedly
heard the recording
during a visit to Ankara last month but
was not allowed to bring it back to the US.

The audio features Khashoggi telling his killers
“I’m suffocating” and “Take this bag off my head”
before he died, a journalist with Turkey’s state-run Daily Sabah
newspaper told Al Jazeera.

Read more:

The key intelligence official Saudi Arabia blames for Khashoggi’s
murder reportedly asked about killing Iranians last year