Khashoggi killers ‘will be prosecuted in Saudi Arabia’ – Saudi FM


Saudi Arabia will prosecute the suspects in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel al Jubeir says, in response to a call by Turkey for their extradition.

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel al Jubeir said on Saturday that those behind the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi would be prosecuted in the kingdom and that the investigation would take time.

“On the issue of extradition, the individuals are Saudi nationals. They’re detained in Saudi Arabia, and the investigation is in Saudi Arabia, and they will be prosecuted in Saudi Arabia,” Jubeir said at a regional defence forum in the Bahraini capital.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday called for the extradition of the 18 Saudi nationals who authorities say were involved in the murder of Khashoggi, a Saudi government critic killed in his country’s consulate in Istanbul this month.

On Friday, Turkey’s justice ministry said Turkish prosecutors have prepared a requisition for 18 suspects on charges of planned and deliberate murder of the Saudi journalist.

TRT World‘s Christine Pirovolakis reports.

‘Media hysteria’

Jubeir told the security summit that Riyadh’s relations with the United States were “ironclad” amid what he described as “media hysteria” over the murder of Khashoggi, a Saudi national and Washington Post columnist, whose murder has sparked outrage among Riyadh’s Western allies and mushroomed into a crisis for Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter and strategic ally of the West.

Saudi Arabia is the lynchpin of a US-backed regional bloc against the growing Iranian influence in the Middle East but Khashoggi crisis has strained Riyadh’s relations with the West.

The minister also said the administration of US President Donald Trump has a “rational, realistic” foreign policy that all Gulf Arab states can support. He said Saudi Arabia was combating Iran’s vision of “darkness” in the Middle East.

Khashoggi murder ‘must concern us all’

Meanwhile, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis warned the murder of Saudi journalist inside the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul “must concern us all greatly”.

Quoting US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Mattis told the security conference in Bahrain that the US “does not tolerate this kind of ruthless action to silence Mr Khashoggi, a journalist, through violence”.

“With our collective interests in peace and unwavering respect for human rights in mind, the murder of Jamal Khashoggi in a diplomatic facility must concern us all greatly,” Mattis added.

“Failure of any nation to adhere to international norms and the rule of law undermines regional stability at a time when it is needed most.”

US Defense Secretary James Mattis speaks during the second day of the 14th Manama dialogue, Security Summit in Manama, Bahrain on October 27, 2018.
US Defense Secretary James Mattis speaks during the second day of the 14th Manama dialogue, Security Summit in Manama, Bahrain on October 27, 2018. (Reuters)

Premeditated murder

Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor said Khashoggi’s killing was premeditated, contradicting a previous official statement that it happened accidentally during a tussle in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Saudi officials have also said he was accidentally killed in a botched security operation to return him to the kingdom.

While these were some of the sharpest comments Mattis has made on the Khashoggi killing, he said the incident would not diminish ties with Saudi Arabia.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo this week announced moves against 21 Saudis to either revoke their visas or make them ineligible for US visas after the Khashoggi killing.

“Our Secretary of State has already revoked visas and will be taking additional measures,” Mattis said.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies