Saudis implicate royal advisor, top spy in Khashoggi killing


RIYADH • A Saudi royal advisor and a senior intelligence official played key roles in the mission that ultimately led to the killing of government critic Jamal Khashoggi and authorities will seek the death penalty for five people who confessed to the murder.

Eleven people out of the 21 held in the case have been charged over Khashoggi’s murder at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct 2, deputy attorney general Shaalan Shaalan said in a televised news conference on the case.

Crown Prince Mohammed Salman, who runs the day to day affairs of the world’s top oil exporter, had no knowledge of the mission, he added.

The killing of Khashoggi has provoked a global outcry and tarnished the reputation of the 33-year-old young prince.

Saudi Arabia stuck by its earlier narrative that the Washington Post columnist was killed after a mission to abduct him went awry. The deputy chief of intelligence ordered that Khashoggi be brought back to the kingdom, Shaalan said. The team killed him after the talks failed and his body was handed to a collaborator in Turkey, he added.

Asked whether Saud al-Qahtanti, an aide to Prince Mohammed, had any role in the case, Shaalan said a royal adviser had a coordinating role and had provided information.

The former advisor is now under investigation, the prosecutor said, declining to reveal the names of any of those facing charges.

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