French Police Arrest Suspect in Connection With Journalist Jamal Khashoggi's Murder, Media Claims
The journalist of Saudi Arabian origin was killed in 2018 after he entered the premises of the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman later revealed that his killing was carried out by a group of rogue state agents and promised to punish those responsible.
One of the suspects linked to journalist Jamal Khashoggi's murder in 2018 has been arrested in Paris, a source in the French police has revealed. European Radio RTL claims the 33-year-old former Saudi Royal Guard member, Khaled Aedh Al-Otaibi, was arrested at Charles de Gaulle Airport as he was about to board a flight to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
The fiancee of the killed journalist welcomed the reports of the arrest of one of the people linked with Khashoggi's death.
"France should try him for his crime, or extradite him to a country able and willing to genuinely investigate and prosecute him as well as the person who gave the order to murder Jamal", she said.
According to RTL, Khaled Aedh Al-Otaibi was travelling under his real name and passport, although authorities are still double-checking his identity to be sure. Interpol issued a warrant for his arrest at the request of Turkey. Reuters later reported, citing an unnamed Saudi official, that the arrest was "a case of mistaken identity" and that people, who had been convicted of Khashoggi's murder, "are currently serving their sentences in Saudi Arabia".
A source in the police said that Khaled Aedh Al-Otaibi was on the French wanted list. Another RTL source claimed that the man is "subject to extradition proceedings" and may be sent to Turkey.
The man was reportedly present at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul when the journalist, who was highly critical of Riyadh, was killed there in 2018. Khaled Aedh Al-Otaibi is among 20 people Interpol is looking to arrest in connection with the case.
The reports of the arrest come several days after a visit by French President Emmanuel Macron to Saudi Arabia, during which he faced questions regarding the killing of the journalist of Saudi Arabian origin. He stressed that he hadn't forgotten about the crime, which several media outlets linked to the Saudi government despite it denouncing the actions of 20 Saudi Royal Guard commandos, calling them a "rogue" group. At the same time, Macron defended his visit.
"Who can think for one second that we can help Lebanon and preserve peace and stability in the Middle East if we say: We're not going to speak to Saudi Arabia, the most populated and most powerful country in the Gulf", Macron wondered.
Khashoggi lived in self-exile in the US and worked as a columnist for The Washington Post, while being a harsh critic of Saudi Arabia. He travelled to the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on 2 October 2018 to obtain papers necessary for marriage but never left the building. It eventually became known that he was killed inside the facility and that his body was dismembered and smuggled out of the building.
Around 20 individuals, members of the consulate, and the Saudi Royal Guard, Khaled Aedh Al-Otaibi among them, were identified as related to the killing of the journalist. Riyadh has vowed to investigate the incident and identify those responsible for the murder, which Saudi Arabia insists it never ordered.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whom some media outlets have accused of ordering the hit on Khashoggi, later stated that he bears responsibility for what happened to the journalist. However, he maintained that the killers from the Royal Guard had gone rogue and acted without the permission from Riyadh.
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