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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Saudi Arabia Holds 1st Hearing for Khashoggi Killing Defendants

By VOA News January 03, 2019

Saudi Arabia says it held an initial court appearance Thursday for 11 people charged in connection with the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The Washington Post columnist and critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was killed October 2 while visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.

The official Saudi Press Agency said prosecutors demanded "proper punishments" for the accused, including the death penalty for five of the defendants.

Prosecutors first announced in November they intended to seek the death penalty for those "charged with ordering and committing the crime."

The names of the defendants have not been made public.

The prosecutor's office says it is continuing to investigate the case and has requested that authorities in Turkey provide any evidence they have. But so far, Saudi Arabia says, Turkey has not responded to that request.

Turkey earlier said those responsible should be turned over for prosecution there because that is where the killing took place, and has similarly accused Saudi Arabia of not cooperating with its investigation.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said the order to kill Khashoggi came from the highest levels of the Saudi government.

Saudi officials initially said Khashoggi had left the consulate safely on his own, but later admitted he was killed there. But they said it was the result of a rogue operation and not ordered by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

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