Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor has concluded that an intelligence officer ordered Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, and not Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The officer was tasked with persuading the dissident journalist to return to the Gulf kingdom, a spokesman said.


File photo of Jamal Khashoggi (8 May 2012)

Khashoggi was given a lethal injection after a struggle in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, he added.

The public prosecutor has charged 11 people over the murder and is seeking the death penalty for five of them.

Their cases have been referred to a court while investigations into another 10 people suspected of involvement continue.

The US treasury department later imposed economic sanctions on 17 Saudi officials who it said had “targeted and brutally killed” Khashoggi, who lived and worked in the US, and had to “face consequences for their actions”.

They included Saud al-Qahtani, a former adviser to the crown prince who the treasury department alleged was “part of the planning and execution of the operation” that led to Khashoggi’s murder; Maher Mutreb, who it said had “co-ordinated and executed” the operation; and Mohammed Alotaibi, the Istanbul consul-general.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the sanctions were “an important step in responding to Khashoggi’s killing” and vowed to “continue to seek all relevant facts, consult Congress, and work with other nations to hold accountable those involved”.
The body parts were then handed over to a local “collaborator” outside the grounds, he added. A composite sketch of the collaborator has been produced and investigations are continuing to locate the remains.

Mr Shalaan did not identify any of those charged with the murder.

But he said investigations had “revealed that the person who ordered the killing was the head of the negotiations team” sent to Istanbul by deputy intelligence chief Gen Ahmed al-Assiri to force Khashoggi to return to Saudi Arabia from his self-imposed exile.

“[The crown prince] did not have any knowledge about it,” he insisted.

Prince Mohammed, the son of King Salman and Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, has denied any role in what he has called a “heinous crime that cannot be justified”.

Critics believe it is highly unlikely he would not have been aware of the operation.

Several of the 21 people arrested over the murder have been seen in his security detail in the past. Gen Assiri and Mr Qahtani have also been sacked over the incident.

Mr Shalaan said Mr Qahtani had been banned from travelling and remained under investigation, but he did not say what had happened to Gen Assiri.

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