Saudi Arabia Demands Release of Citizen Arrested For Khashoggi Murder
By Staff, Agencies
The Saudi embassy in Paris said Tuesday that a Saudi national arrested as a suspect in the 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi has no connection with the case.
French police earlier Tuesday arrested a man suspected of being a member of the hit squad that murdered Khashoggi at the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul, and investigators were seeking to confirm that the man carrying a passport in the name of Khalid al-Otaibi was indeed the man being sought in connection with the gruesome murder.
"The person who was arrested has nothing to do with the case in question," the embassy said in a statement. "Therefore, the kingdom's embassy expects his immediate release."
It also claimed that the Saudi judiciary had already issued verdicts against "all those who participated in the heinous murder of Jamal Khashoggi" and that they were serving their sentences.
A French police spokesperson admitted that there was doubt over the identity of the man arrested, but that it is still possibly the man in question.
Al-Otaibi is a 33-year-old former Saudi royal guard, according to French RLT radio. He was named as one of those who killed and dismembered the Saudi journalist in Turkey after subsequent investigations.
The US and UK have sanctioned him for his role in the murder, although Saudi Arabia claims the arrest is a case of "mistaken identity."
Khashoggi's widow Hatice Cengiz, told CNN the arrest may be "a very significant first step for justice for Jamal."
"Those who executed the plan must not be used to shield those much higher up who gave the order for Jamal's brutal killing," she said.
In September 2020, a Saudi court overturned five death sentences issued after a closed-door trial in Saudi Arabia, sentencing the accused to 20 years in prison instead.