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, Saudi’s prosecutor said Thursday.
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The announcement follows growing international outcry over the killing of Mr Khashoggi, with the US announcing punishing sanctions for the individuals it says were involved in the murder.
Mr Khashoggi was 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.
Mr 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 Crown 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 Mr Khashoggi – and “the head of the negotiating team” that flew to the Istanbul consulate had ordered his murder, the spokesman said.