Saudi Arabia to Seek Death Penalty for Five People Accused in Murder of Jamal Khashoggi

Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor said on Thursday that he was requesting the death penalty for five people suspected of involvement in the killing of the Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi at the country’s consulate in Istanbul.

Speaking to reporters in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, a spokesman for the public prosecutor said that the 15-man team sent to confront Mr. Khashoggi had orders to return him to the kingdom, but after he resisted they decided on the spot to kill and dismember him.

The Saudi prosecutor’s account on Thursday appeared to contradict previous statements from both the Saudi government and senior White House officials about Saudi conclusions regarding the killing on Oct. 2 of Mr. Khashoggi.

Turkey’s foreign minister declared the new Saudi explanation “unsatisfying.”

“We find the steps taken positive but inadequate,” the minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, said at a news conference on Thursday in the town of Alanya, according to the semiofficial Anadolu news agency. He demanded that Saudi Arabia provide more information, including the whereabouts of Mr. Khashoggi’s remains, adding, “There is so far no answer on this matter.”

The assassination of Mr. Khashoggi, a Virginia resident who wrote columns for The Washington Post that were critical of some Saudi policies, has caused widespread international outrage and the largest foreign relations crisis for the kingdom since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The statement from the Saudis on Thursday also sought to reinforce previous claims that the team in Istanbul had acted without the consent of the kingdom’s top leadership, meaning King Salman and his son Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

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SOURCE: NY Times, Ben Hubbard and David D. Kirkpatrick