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Turkey begins trial of 20 Saudis charged with the murder of Jamal Khashoggi

The suspects named in the Turkish indictment are being tried in absentia. They include Ahmed al-Assiri, a former deputy head of Saudi Arabia's general intelligence, and Saud al-Qahtani, a former adviser to the Saudi Crown Prince. Both men are accused of "instigating premeditated torturous murder with monstrous intent." The remaining 18 defendants are being charged with "premeditated torturous murder with monstrous intent."Ankara has repeatedly called for the suspects to be extradited and tried in Turkey where the crime took place. Riyadh has not complied with the request. The indictment lays out in detail the events leading up to the afternoon of October 2, 2018, when Khashoggi walked into the Saudi consulate in a busy business district in Istanbul to pick up papers that would have allowed him to marry his Turkish fiancé Hatice Cengiz.The Turkish indictment outlines a conspiracy among the defendants. It includes CCTV footage of the movement of the suspects — 15 of whom flew into Turkey from Saudi Arabia ahead of the killing — as well as eyewitness testimony from Turkish workers in the consulate who were given time off on the day of the murder. The trial has brought fresh hope for Cengiz, who says she will not stop pursuing justice for her slain fiancée. Hatice Cengiz hopes the case will offer new clues to the whereabouts of Jamal Khashoggi's remains.  "I will continue to pursue all legal avenues to hold Jamal's killers accountable and I will not rest until we get Justice for Jamal," she said in a written statement to CNN. "Jamal's killers and those who ordered his murder have evaded justice thus far. I hope this criminal case in Turkey brings to light the whereabouts of Jamal's body, the evidence against the killers and the evidence of those behind the gruesome murder."The Saudi government has presented shifting stories about Khashoggi's fate in the months following his death. Initially Saudi officials denied any knowledge of the journalist's whereabouts, then shifted to arguing that a group of rogue operators carried out the murder without the involvement of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Turkish officials have said Riyadh has not been cooperative in their investigation.US officials, however, have said such a mission — including the 15-man hit squad sent from Riyadh — could not have been carried out without the authorization of bin Salman, and the CIA concluded that the Crown Prince had ordered the killing. Saudi authorities have vehemently denied the allegations.Read More – Source


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