Court proceedings begin in Khashoggi trial

Prosecutors are reportedly seeking the death penalty for 5 of the 11 suspects on trial for the murder.
Thursday 03/01/2019
Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi attends a press conference in the Bahraini capital Manama. (AFP)
Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi attends a press conference in the Bahraini capital Manama. (AFP)

RIYADH - Suspects in the murder of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi attended their first court hearing January 3, Saudi state media announced.

According to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for 5 of the 11 suspects on trial for the murder of Khashoggi, who was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October.

Leading up to the trial, Saudi prosecutors said they had reached out to Ankara for evidence in Khashoggi’s case but have yet to receive a reply.

The defence team on Thursday requested a copy of the indictment sheet and a timeframe within which to review the charges. The prosecutor agreed to both requests, SPA said. No date has been set for the next hearing.

Khashoggi, a columnist for the Washington Post, was a Saudi court insider before turning to a critic of Riyadh. His killing sparked global outrage and placed the young crown prince under scrutiny before the kingdom committed to holding those responsible to account.

In November, the Saudi attorney general dismissed allegations that the crown prince had foreknowledge of the murder plot.

Still, the case has driven a wedge between Saudi Arabia and Turkey, which has used media leaks about the issue as leverage to pressure Riyadh and Washington.

Ankara has also sought the extradition of the suspects in Saudi custody to stand trial in Turkey but its requests have been repeatedly turned by Riyadh. Like most other nations, Saudi Arabia does not extradite its citizens to other countries.