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Murder of Jamal Khashojji at the Consulate of Saudi Arabia. Khalid Aedh al-Otaibi was arrested at the airport near Paris

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A man who is among the suspects in the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashojji was arrested at Charles de Gaulle airport near Paris as he boarded a plane to Riyadh, French radio RTL reported. A Saudi journalist was murdered in 2018.

Reuters agency, citing information from the French radio RTL, described that the person detained on Tuesday was Khalid Aedh al-Otaibi, a former member of the Saudi Royal Guard.

The 33-year-old was detained in the morning at Charles de Gaulle airport near Paris while boarding a plane to Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. He traveled under his real name. This was possible thanks to the arrest warrant issued by Turkey in 2019. Al-Otaibi had an Interpol Red Note.


His data and photos appeared in the 2018 investigation by “The Wahington Post” (with whom Khashodji cooperated). He was in a group of 15 people who, according to American journalists, had an influence on the murder of a Saudi journalist. Al-Otaibi was also among 17 people on the US sanctions list for their suspected involvement in the murder.

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RTL, citing judicial sources, said that the man would be extradited to Turkey.

Homicide at the consulate

The murder of Jamal Khashojji took place at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018. A journalist opposing the authorities in Riyadh wanted to arrange the formalities related to the wedding there. Saudi authorities have long argued that they had nothing to do with his disappearance, but eventually admitted a homicide when attempts to persuade a journalist to voluntarily return to the country failed. The body has never been found. A Saudi prosecutor admitted that they had been dismembered and removed from the consulate.

In February, it was published in Washington the American report that the prince Mohammed bin Salman he was probably the giver of the murder. Authorities in Riyadh dismiss these allegations as untrue.


Investigations after the death of a journalist

The first sentences for the murder of a Saudi journalist were issued in December 2019. Then the Riyadh Court of First Instance sentenced five defendants to the death penalty. The three others received sentences ranging from 7 to 10 years in prison. A Saudi investigation has also been carried out against the former advisor to the Saudi royal court, Saud al-Katani, but no charges have been brought against him.

The trial was widely criticized by human rights groups, according to which no senior Saudi official or anyone suspected of ordering the murder was found guilty. The independence of the Saudi court was undermined and UN rapporteur Agnes Callamard called the verdict “a farce.”

According to Saudi Arabian law, the victim’s family has the right to forgive or pardon the perpetrator, and after the decision is made public, the sentencing of the prosecuted offender to the death penalty becomes impossible. This is what happened in this case – during Ramadan in 2020, the holy month of fasting for Muslims, Khashojji’s son announced that the family forgives the killers. As a result, the case was referred to the court again, this time with lighter penalties.

In early July 2020, the absentee trial of two former Saudi heir apparent advisers and 18 other Saudis over the killing of Khashojji began in Istanbul.

Two former advisers to the prince, Saud al-Katani and Ahmed al-Asiri, were charged with “inciting premeditated murder with intent to harass.” 18 others were charged with “premeditated murder with intent to harass”. Saudi Arabia is refusing to extradite the suspects to Turkey, believing that the Saudi courts have jurisdiction to try the country’s citizens.

Reuters, RTL, The Guardian, PAP

Main photo source: Depo Photos / ABACAPRESS.COM / PAP

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