A Turkish court on Friday opened the trial in absentia of 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.
Turkish prosecutors have indicted the 20 Saudi nationals over Khashoggi’s grisly killing at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul that cast a cloud of suspicion over Prince Mohammed. They are seeking life prison terms for the defendants, who have all left Turkey.
Saudi Arabia rejected Turkish demands for the suspects’ extradition and put some of them on trial in Riyadh. The proceedings were widely criticized as a “whitewash” and Khashoggi’s family later announced that they had forgiven his killers.
The trial in Turkey will be closely watched for possible new information or evidence into the killing, including the whereabouts of Khashoggi’s remains.
The Turkish prosecutors have charged 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.”
Prosecutors are also seeking life prison sentences for 18 other Saudi nationals charged with carrying out “a premeditated murder with the intent of (causing) torment through fiendish instincts.”
Khashoggi, who was a resident of the U.S., had walked into his country’s consulate on Oct. 2, 2018, for an appointment to pick up documents that would allow him to marry. He never walked out.