Five Saudi officials face the death penalty for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi who was dismembered inside the kingdom's Istanbul consulate, but Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was not involved, the prosecutor said Thursday.
The announcement follows growing international outcry over the killing of Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and critic of the Saudi rulers who was last seen entering the consulate on October 2 to obtain paperwork for his marriage.
Khashoggi died after being drugged and then dismembered, a spokesman for the public prosecutor's office said in the first Saudi confirmation of how he was killed. The journalist's body parts were then handed over to an agent outside the consulate grounds, the spokesman said.
He denied Prince Mohammed had any knowledge of the murder.
The deputy chief of Saudi Arabia's intelligence, General Ahmed al-Assiri, gave the order to repatriate Khashoggi — and "the head of the negotiating team" that flew to the Istanbul consulate had ordered his murder, the spokesman said. After repeated denials, Saudi Arabia finally admitted in mid-October that Khashoggi had been murdered at the compound, but blamed it on a "rogue" operation.
The prosecutor has requested the death penalty for the five who "are charged with ordering and committing the crime and for the appropriate sentences for the other indicted individuals," an official statement published by state news agency SPA said.
It said a total of 21 individuals were in custody in connection with the killing, 11 of whom have been indicted with investigations to continue into the others.
Turkey on Wednesday called for an international investigation into the murder. Agencies