Saudi Arabia seeks death penalty for five Khashoggi murder suspects

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends the Future Investment Initiative conference in the Saudi capital Riyadh

Saudi Arabia's top prosecutor announced Thursday he's recommended the death penalty for five people charged with ordering and carrying out the killing of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

According to a press statement read by the deputy Saudi public prosecutor and spokesman Shaalan al-Shaalan, 11 defendants in the Khashoggi trial have been convicted in relation to the murder, which took place on 2 October at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

A travel ban had been imposed on a top aide to the crown prince, Saud al-Qahtani, while investigations continued over his role, Shaalan said.

Investigations are ongoing to find the remains, the prosecutor insisted.

Mr al Mojeb said that a former adviser to the royal court, Saud al-Qahtani, had been due to meet the team that was ordered to send back the journalist, who was killed after efforts to negotiate his return failed.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Shalaan bin Rajih Shalaan later denied Salman was aware of the killing, saying investigations "revealed that the person who ordered the killing was the head of the negotiations team" and MBS "did not have any knowledge about it".

The journalist's body parts were then handed over to an agent outside the consulate grounds, the spokesperson said.

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With worldwide pressure mounting, Saudi Arabia on October 20 admitted that Khashoggi had died inside its embassy in Istanbul.

Several of the 21 people arrested over the murder have been seen in his security detail in the past.

The prosecutor also said he was waiting for Turkish intelligence to pass over evidence of Khashoggi's death, including an audio recording that purportedly captures Khashoggi's last moments.

The Saudi prosecutor's office said the kingdom had requested that Turkey sign a "special cooperation mechanism" on a probe into the murder but had not yet received a response.

Cavusoglu, who repeated Turkey's demand that the 15-man team involved in the murder be tried in his country, said the killing was premeditated and that equipment was brought into Turkey to dismember the body.

Turkish officials have accused Prince Mohammed of ordering the murder while President Erdogan said the killing was ordered at the "highest levels" of the Saudi government.

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