Tur­key in­dicted 20 Saudis in the killing of Ja­mal Khashoggi.

The Washington Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY KAREEM FAHIM [email protected]­post.com

is­tan­bul — Pros­e­cu­tors in Is­tan­bul said Wed­nes­day that they had in­dicted 20 Saudi na­tion­als, in­clud­ing two se­nior of­fi­cials, on mur­der charges af­ter an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the 2018 killing of jour­nal­ist Ja­mal Khashoggi, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment from the pros­e­cu­tor’s of­fice.

The sus­pects are all be­lieved to be in Saudi Ara­bia, where pros­e­cu­tors con­ducted a sep­a­rate, closed-door trial for Khashoggi’s killing. Saudi of­fi­cials had pre­vi­ously re­fused Tur­key’s re­quest to ex­tra­dite Saudi sus­pects in the case.

Khashoggi, 59, a vet­eran jour­nal­ist and con­tribut­ing colum­nist for The Wash­ing­ton Post, was killed in the Saudi Con­sulate in Is­tan­bul in Oc­to­ber 2018 by a team of agents dis­patched to Tur­key by se­nior Saudi of­fi­cials, ac­cord­ing to Turk­ish and Saudi pros­e­cu­tors. Af­ter Khashoggi was stran­gled, his body was dis­mem­bered and his re­mains have yet to be re­cov­ered, Turk­ish of­fi­cials said.

Be­fore his death, Khashoggi, writ­ing in The Post, had been crit­i­cal of Crown Prince Mo­hammed bin Sal­man, Saudi Ara­bia’s day-to-day ruler.

The killing shone a light on the ex­tra­or­di­nary crack­down on dis­sent car­ried out by Saudi au­thor­i­ties un­der Mo­hammed’s lead­er­ship and soured re­la­tions be­tween Saudi Ara­bia and Tur­key. Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan’s gov­ern­ment first pub­li­cized de­tails of the Saudi plot and has con­tin­ued to ac­cuse the Saudi lead­er­ship of shield­ing se­nior of­fi­cials from blame.

The CIA con­cluded that Mo­hammed had prob­a­bly or­dered the killing, which the crown prince has de­nied.

The Turk­ish in­dict­ment was the lat­est sign that Er­do­gan’s gov­ern­ment would con­tinue to high­light Khashoggi’s case. It charged two top Saudi of­fi­cials, Saud al-Qah­tani, a close ad­viser to Mo­hammed, and Ahmed al-as­siri, a for­mer deputy head of Saudi in­tel­li­gence, with hav­ing “in­sti­gated pre­med­i­tated mur­der with mon­strous in­tent.”

The two men “gave the other sus­pects the nec­es­sary in­struc­tions to ful­fill the ac­tion of killing” Khashoggi, the state­ment said.

Both men were cleared of any wrong­do­ing by Saudi pros­e­cu­tors late last year. Five other uniden­ti­fied men were sen­tenced to death in the trial, which was crit­i­cized for lack­ing trans­parency by hu­man rights ad­vo­cates.

In ad­di­tion to As­siri and Qah­tani, Is­tan­bul pros­e­cu­tors charged 18 other men in the killing, af­ter in­ves­ti­ga­tors col­lected ev­i­dence from sur­veil­lance footage, phone logs, and Khashoggi’s lap­top and cell­phones, the state­ment said.

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