RIYADH: Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered on October 2 in his country’s consulate in Istanbul.
Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributor and critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was drugged, dismembered and then transferred out of the consulate, Riyadh’s public prosecution said on Thursday.
Here is what we know about the Saudi nationals allegedly involved in the murder that has provoked an international outcry.
– A total of 21 people, all Saudi citizens, are in custody in connection with the Khashoggi murder, the Saudi prosecution said without disclosing their identities.
– Of the 21 suspects, 11 have been indicted while investigations are to continue into the others.
– The prosecution said it was seeking the death penalty against five individuals who “are charged with ordering and committing the crime”.
On October 20, Riyadh announced the sacking of five Saudi officials — two of them part of Prince Mohammed’s inner circle — and the detention of 18 suspects, whose names were not released.
– General Ahmad al-Assiri, who was fired as deputy head of intelligence, was implicated in the prosecutor’s statement that said a “former” deputy intelligence chief ordered the “leader of the mission” to “bring back the victim by means of persuasion, and if persuasion fails, to do so by force”.
– Royal media advisor Saud al-Qahtani has also been fired. Although not name by the prosecution, the statement said a “former advisor” played a central role in the operation.
– Mohammed al-Rumaih, Abdullah al-Shaya and Rashad al-Muhamadi, who all held posts in the country’s intelligence service, were sacked in the wake of the Khashoggi killing.
The United States on Thursday slapped economic sanctions on 17 Saudis allegedly involved in the Khashoggi murder. Among them are:
– Qahtani for “being part of the planning and execution of the operation that led to the killing” of Khashoggi, the US Treasury said in a statement.
– Maher Mutreb, a close aide to Prince Mohammed, who “coordinated and executed” the operation.
– Mohammed al-Otaibi, the Saudi consul in Istanbul, where the journalist was killed.
A physical altercation after Khashoggi entered the consulate led to him being “forcibly restrained and injected with a large amount of a drug resulting in an overdose that led to his death, may Allah bless his soul”, the prosecutor’s statement said.
It added that his body was then dismembered, “transferred outside the consulate” and handed over to a “collaborator”.
The whereabouts of Khashoggi’s body remains unknown.
Public prosecution spokesman Shaalan al-Shaalan on Thursday said Prince Mohammed had “no knowledge” of the killing of Khashoggi, a royal insider turned critic.