Khashoggi murder: Saudi Arabia public prosecutor seeks death penalty against five suspects

Prosecutor says 21 people in custody over the killing

Jamal Khashoggi’s sons demand return of murdered journalist’s body for burial in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia has declared that it is seeking the death penalty for five citizens accused of ordering and carrying out the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, but did not name any of them or disclose the whereabouts of the 59-year-old dissident’s body.

The Saudi state news agency cited the public prosecutor as saying 11 suspects have been indicted for the 2 October killing of the Washington Post columnist, with another 10 in custody and under investigation, bringing to 21 people the number of people allegedly connected to the case.

“The Public Prosecutor has requested the death penalty for five individuals who are charged with ordering and committing the crime and for the appropriate sentences for the other indicted individuals,” the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Turkish media citing security officials and airport transit data have named 20 Saudi citizens allegedly involved in the killing of Mr Khashoggi and subsequent cover-up attempt. But the Saudis have yet to name anyone. Two deputies of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom’s de facto ruler, have been demoted over the killing, and one of the alleged perpetrators named by Western and Turkish media has been tied directly to the entourage of the 33-year-old heir to the throne.

Ankara has blamed the highest ranks of power in Saudi Arabia for Khashoggi's brutal death. Turkish officials have alleged Khashoggi was dismembered and dissolved in acid after his murder in Istanbul's Saudi consulate last month.

Earlier this week, Turkish media published photos purportedly showing tools carried by the Saudi hit squad as they left Istanbul aboard a private jet. Syringes, electro-shock devices and a blade similar to a scalpel were among the tools carried by Khashoggi’s alleged killers, though there was no evidence of a bone saw required to dismember his body, according to a new report.

Justice for Jamal Khashoggi protest outside the Embassy of Saudi Arabia

The New York Times on Tuesday cited unnamed officials describing one member of the Saudi kill team being recorded phoning Riyadh after murdering Khashoggi and saying “tell your boss", in a possible reference to the crown prince, who is widely suspected of ordering the hit.

Saudi officials and their western partners are bracing for the release of recordings that could further damage relations between Riyadh and its backers in world capitals. On Monday, Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau disclosed Ottawa intelligence officials had heard the recordings, while Germany’s government spokesman acknowledged intelligence sharing between Ankara and Berlin on the Khashoggi matter.

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