Saudi diplomat says prince not linked to murder

Saudi Arabia's top prosecutor has recommended the death penalty for five suspects charged with ordering and carrying out the killing of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi.

The Saudi prosecutor "says that Khashoggi's killers planned his death three days before the journalist entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul", NPR's Jackie Northam reports.

The order to repatriate Khashoggi had come from former deputy intelligence chief General Ahmed al-Asiri, Shalaan added.

The prosecution "demands the death penalty for those who ordered and executed the killing and they're five people", he said.

"The politicization of the issue contributes to a fissure in the Islamic world while the kingdom seeks the unity of the Islamic world", al-Jubeir said.

Bolton said he did not think that people who heard the recordings concluded that the crown prince was linked to the killing.

After Saudi Arabia admitted that Khashoggi was killed in its Istanbul consulate, five high-ranking officials were dismissed, including bin Salman's media chief and the deputy head of the Saudi intelligence service.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said the order came from "the highest levels" of the Riyadh government, but stopped short of pointing the finger of blame at the Saudi crown prince. But there is no definitive evidence that Mohammed ordered the operation.

Mnuchin indicated that the United States would continue investigating to determine whether others were also responsible and said that "the government of Saudi Arabia must take appropriate steps to end any targeting of political dissidents or journalists". Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman not implicated in the case.

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Turkey has called for an worldwide investigation into the murder, and has previously hinted that the Saudi authorities were not keen on genuinely cooperating with their investigation.

"There are still questions that need answers" over the premeditated murder, Cavusoglu said on October 25, asking Riyadh to explain "who gave them the orders" and "where the body is".

Asked about possible global sanctions in response to the case, Adel al Jubeir told reporters there was a difference between sanctioning individuals and holding the Saudi government responsible.

Through a series of orchestrated leaks, including audio of the killing shared with Western intelligence, Turkey has attempted to keep pressure on the crown prince, who sees Turkey as a regional rival.

Those sanctions, though, do not seem to be enough to satisfy one notable critic of the US handling of Khashoggi's murder.

Khashoggi had been living in self-imposed exile overseas for almost a year before he was killed by Saudi agents at the consulate on October 2. "This process can not be closed down in this way", he added.

Qahtani, sanctioned by the United States on Thursday, was also was involved in planning Khashoggi's repatriation, according to the prosecutor.

Officials from the kingdom first rejected the now-validated claim that Khashoggi never left the consulate alive. A bipartisan group of senators, including the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, last month called on President Donald Trump to determine whether the Saudi government had violated the act and to "consider any relevant information, including with respect to the highest-ranking officials in the Government of Saudi Arabia".

Mevlut Cavusoglu also insisted that the suspects detained in Saudi Arabia over Mr Khashoggi's killing should be put on trial in Turkey.

  • Sonia Alvarado