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Turkey trial of Khashoggi Saudi murder suspects postponed to November

Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Turkey [Getty]

Date of publication: 4 July, 2020

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The trial of 20 Saudi suspects that began in absentia on Friday was postponed to November, in hopes that the suspects would be made to attend the hearings.
The Istanbul trial in absentia of 20 Saudi suspects accused in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi has been postponed to November, a report said on Friday.
Khashoggi, who was an insider-turned-critic, wrote for The Washington Post before he was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018.

The first hearing was held on Friday and attended by Khashoggi's Turkish fiancee Hatice Cengiz as well as her lawyer.

The court, after hearing from the witnesses working at the Saudi Consulate and Cengiz herself, posponed the trial to November 24, al-Khaleej al-Jadeed reported.

Among the suspects, who were charged with "deliberately and monstrously killing, causing torment," are two former aids to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman [MbS].

The court said arrest warrants and Interpol red notices for the suspects were still valid, while Riyadh has reportedly refused to hand over the suspects to Turkey for trial.

Turkish prosecutors claim Saudi deputy intelligence chief, Ahmed al-Assiri, and the royal court's media czar, Saud al-Qahtani, led the operation and gave orders to a Saudi hit team. Prosecutors are pushing for a life sentence for the suspects if found guilty.

Cengiz was quoted by media agencies saying she hoped the trial "brings to light the whereabouts of Jamal's body, the evidence against the killers and the evidence of those behind the gruesome murder."

Read also: Newly-released footage shows Khashoggi at Saudi consulate a week before murder

"I will continue to pursue all legal avenues to hold Jamal's killers accountable and I will not rest until we get justice for Jamal," she told AFP before the trial.

Khashoggi was killed and dismembered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, while Saudi Arabia has described the killing as a rogue operation. The journalist's remains were never found.

A closed-door trial in Saudi Arabia ended in December sentenced five people to death, without releasing their names.

The public prosecution's indictment against the Saudi suspects details how Khashoggi fled from Saudi Arabia and includes clips of articles critical of MbS and the Saudi regime.

Riyadh has reportedly moved to ban Turkey's state-news agencies after the indictment was filed.

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