Will the killers of Jamal Khashoggi get death penalty in Saudi Arabia? Riyadh says it has held an initial hearing into the murder case of Jamal Khashoggi, with the public prosecutor demanding the death sentence for all the five suspects.
The state-run Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported that at the court session, which was held in Riyadh on Thursday, the prosecutor demanded that “proper punishments” be imposed against the 11 defendants and that “capital punishment” sentences be handed to five of them over their direct involvement in the killing.
“During the initial hearing of the case, the defendants requested a copy of the indictment and additional time to respond. The defendants’ request was approved according to the Law of Criminal Procedures. Meanwhile, the Public Prosecutor continues to investigate the case with the rest of the individuals in custody in relation to this crime,” the public prosecutor said in a statement.
The suspects’ lawyers were also present at the trial, it added. It also noted that Riyadh had sent two letters to the Turkish public prosecutor demanding further evidence in the case, but had so far received no response.
The Turkish government has earlier said that it shared graphic audio recordings, purporting to indicate that Khashoggi was brutally murdered inside the Saudi consulate, with the US, as well as France, Britain and Germany.
Khashoggi — an outspoken critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — was killed by a Saudi hit squad in Istanbul on October 2.
Turkish media have already released gruesome details of the recordings and also published images of 15 Saudi agents whom it says entered Istanbul on the same day to carry out the mission.
Ankara has called on Saudi Arabia to extradite the suspects for them to stand trial in Istanbul, a request rejected by Riyadh. Turkish officials have on several occasions complained about the lack of cooperation on the part of Riyadh in the investigation.
Turkey has also said that it may seek a formal United Nations inquiry into Khashoggi’s murder case if its dealings with Riyadh come to an impasse. After weeks of denials of any involvement in Khashoggi’s disappearance, the Riyadh regime eventually acknowledged the “premeditated” murder but has vehemently sought to distance the heir to the throne from the case.
A Saudi prosecutor has said that Khashoggi’s body was dismembered and removed from the diplomatic mission. The CIA is said to have concluded that bin Salman had “probably ordered” the murder.