Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor is seeking the death penalty for five out of 11 suspects charged in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, in a case that has strained the kingdom’s ties with key Western allies, his office said on Thursday.
Khashoggi, a prominent critic of Saudi policy, was killed in the country’s Istanbul consulate on Oct. 2, after a struggle, by a lethal injection dose and his body was dismembered and taken out of the building, deputy public prosecutor and spokesman Shaalan al-Shaalan told reporters.
He said the Washington Post columnist was murdered after “negotiations” for his return to the kingdom failed and that the person who ordered the killing was the head of the negotiating team that was sent to repatriate Khashoggi.
Turkish officials are not satisfied with the remarks, Ankara’s foreign minister said on Thursday, adding the journalist was targeted in a premeditated killing.
Riyadh had offered numerous contradictory explanations for his disappearance, before saying Khashoggi was killed after “negotiations” to convince him to return to the kingdom failed. On Thursday, the public prosecutor’s office said he was killed after a struggle by a lethal injection and his body dismembered and taken out of the building.
“I don’t find some comments satisfying. They say this person was killed because he resisted, whereas this murder was premeditated,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters.
“Again, they say he was dismembered… but this isn’t a spontaneous thing. The necessary equipment and people were previously brought in to kill and later dismember him.”
President Tayyip Erdogan has said the killing was ordered at the “highest levels” of the Saudi government.
Cavusoglu also reiterated Turkey’s call for Riyadh to disclose the location of Khashoggi‘s remains.
“Where is the body of the murdered Khashoggi? Where was it thrown, where was it burned?” Cavusoglu said. He did not say whether Turkey had evidence that pointed to the body having been burned. Turkey has previously called for an investigation into reports the body was dissolved in acid.
Cavusoglu also repeated Erdogan’s call that the suspects in the case should be tried in Turkey, not Saudi Arabia.