Turkish prosecutors have formally charged two former aides of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and 18 other Saudi nationals over the 2018 killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, officials said Wednesday. A statement from the Istanbul chief prosecutor's office said it has completed its investigation into Khashoggi's grisly killing at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul and has indicted 20 Saudi nationals. All suspects, however, have left Turkey, and Saudi Arabia has rejected Turkish calls for their return to face trial in Turkey, reports the AP. Riyadh insists the kingdom's courts are the correct place for them to be tried and has put 11 people on trial over the killing.
The Turkish indictment charges the prince's former advisers, Saud al-Qahtani and Ahmed al-Asiri, with "instigating a premeditated murder with the intent of [causing] torment through fiendish instinct," according to a statement from Chief Prosecutor Irfan Fidan's office. The indictment also calls for life prison sentences for the 18 other Saudi nationals charged. The trial in Saudi Arabia last year concluded that the killing wasn't premeditated, prompting widespread criticism of a "whitewash." Saudi authorities have said al-Qahtani was investigated and had no proven involvement in the killing, while al-Asiri was tried and released because of insufficient evidence. The statement didn't provide further details, and it wasn't immediately clear if the suspects would be tried in absentia.
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