Five Saudi officials to face death penalty for Khashoggi murder

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends the Future Investment Initiative conference in the Saudi capital Riyadh

Five Saudi officials to face death penalty for Khashoggi murder

A Saudi royal adviser 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, according to a top official in the kingdom.

The official said it was the head of the squad, sent to Turkey, who ordered Khashoggi's killing after having failed to convince him to return to Saudi Arabia.

It went on to assert that the public prosecutor had requested the death penalty for five individuals who had been implicated in ordering and committing the murder "and for appropriate sentences [to be handed down against] the remaining indicted individuals".

The spokesperson also said that a team had been formed on the orders of the former deputy intelligence chief to return Khashoggi's body, Al-Arabiya reported.

Previously, Saudi officials have suggested Khashoggi might have died in a fight at the consulate.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in March.

Saudi prosecutors said al-Assiri deemed Khashoggi a threat because of his work as a writer and he was allegedly backed by groups and countries that are hostile to Saudi Arabia.

Turkey on Wednesday called for an worldwide investigation into the murder.

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On Thursday, the Saudi prosecutor confirmed part of the timeline Turkey has laid out, saying a 15-member team had been deployed to Turkey with orders to "bring back the victim by means of persuasion, and if persuasion fails, to do so by force".

Immediately after Khashoggi disappeared on October 2, Saudi officials claimed he had left the consulate on his own.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavuşoglu, however, called some of the Saudi prosecution statements "unsatisfying." .

The prosecutor said 21 people are now in custody, with 11 indicted and referred to trial.

U.S. President Donald Trump had suggested ultimate responsibility lay with the prince as de facto ruler.

Responding to the statement, Turkey on Thursday said the Saudi response was "insufficient" and insisted the killing was "premeditated".

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.

He was killed after a struggle by a lethal injection dose and his body was dismembered and taken out of the building, Shaalan told reporters in Riyadh.

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