Saudi Arabia seeks death penalty for five suspects in Khashoggi killing

Saudi Arabia seeks death penalty for five suspects in Khashoggi killing

Kerry Wise
November 21, 2018

The prosecutor has requested the death penalty for the five who "are charged with ordering and committing the crime and for the appropriate sentences for the other indicted individuals", an official statement published by state news agency SPA said.

But Trump, speaking to reporters at the White House before flying to California, also reiterated that he had been told the crown prince had not played a role in the journalist's death.

Russian Federation said that it sees no reason to doubt Saudi Arabia's ability to deal with the Khashoggi case and that it will not accept the politicization of the case. Many, along with current and former US officials and Middle East experts, have said that the Istanbul operation would not have been launched without the knowledge and approval of Mohammed, considered Saudi Arabia's de facto leader under his father, King Salman. After first insisting Khashoggi left the consulate unharmed, Saudi authorities said he was killed in an argument that degenerated into a brawl before finally accepting what Turkey had said virtually from the start - that he was killed in a premeditated hit.

Meanwhile on Friday, US President Donald Trump, who has till now shied from directly blaming the Crown Prince, agreed with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that "any cover up of the incident should not be allowed".

The Trump administration this week sanctioned individuals for their alleged role in the killing, but the intelligence officials' conclusion bolsters efforts in Congress for a harsher USA response.

The Treasury announcement followed the release of a statement in Riyadh saying 11 unnamed Saudi citizens had been indicted in the crime, which took place when Khashoggi visited the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

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The sanctions freeze any assets the 17 may have in the US and prohibit any Americans from doing business with them.

The prayers, held "in absentia" because The Washington Post columnist's remains have not been found, came a day after Saudi Arabia announced it would seek the death penalty against five men suspected in the killing.

The new sanctions freeze any assets the 17 may have in the US and prohibit any Americans from doing business with them. The announcement follows growing global outcry over the killing of Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and critic of the Saudi rulers who was last seen entering the consulate on October 2 to obtain paperwork for his marriage.

"The claims in this purported assessment is false", a spokeswoman for the Saudi Embassy in Washington said in a statement. Some have said Trump should suspend arms sales to the kingdom and drop his support for MbS, but Trump has so far resisted that pressure.

Baeshen said the ambassador did not discuss with Khashoggi "anything related to going to Turkey".

The most prominent individual facing sanctions is Saud Al-Qahtani, a now-resigned chief aid to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. He tweeted, "As we told the Washington Post the last contact I had with Mr. Khashoggi was via text on Oct 26, 2017. I ask the US government to release any information regarding this claim".