France detains one of the suspected killers of Jamal Khashoggi, source…
One of the suspected killers of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was arrested at Roissy airport near Paris on Tuesday as he was about to board a flight to Riyadh, a police source and a judicial source said.
A police source named the man as Khaled Aedh Al-Otaibi, a former Royal Guard of Saudi Arabia. A judicial source confirmed the arrest and said authorities were in the time of action of verifying his identity.
But a Saudi official said it was a case of mistaken identity, adding that those convicted of the crime were currently serving their sentence in Saudi Arabia.
The arrest came just days after French President Emmanuel Macron held confront-to-confront talks in Saudi Arabia with de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, becoming the first major Western leader to visit the kingdom since Khashoggi’s murder.
A general manager of Alarab TV, Jamal Khashoggi, looks on during a press conference in the Bahraini capital Manama, on Dec. 15, 2014. (Mohammed Al-Shaikh/AFP/Getty Images)
Khashoggi, a critic of Prince Mohammed, was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, 2018. Turkish officials believe his body was dismembered and removed. His remains have not been found.
speculate already on UK and U.S. sanctions lists
Al-Otaibi is being held in the airport complicate, police said. The air border police have an office in a building near the airport terminal.
Al-Otaibi — who is mentioned on UK and U.S. sanctions lists as being involved in Khashoggi’s murder — was also on a French wanted list.
He was arrested on the basis of a warrant issued by Turkey in 2019, the police source told Reuters. French prosecutors will now begin proceedings for a possible extradition there.
Khashoggi’s fiancée Hatice Hengiz tweeted that she welcomes the arrest of the suspected killer.
I welcome the arrest of one of Jamal’s killers today in <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/France?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#France</a>. France should try him for his crime, or extradite him to a country able and willing to genuinely probe and prosecute him in addition as the person who gave the order to murder Jamal. <a href=”https://t.co/naqzfujCsp”>https://t.co/naqzfujCsp</a>
A report by Britain’s Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation said Al-Otaibi, whom it mentions also goes by Altaibi, “is involved in the unlawful killing of Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul on 2 October 2018, as part of the 15 man team sent to Turkey by Saudi authorities.”
Al-Otaibi, born in 1988, “was involved in the concealment of evidence at the Saudi General Consul’s residence following the killing,” that report said. A U.S. department of Treasury report said, “The Saudi officials we are sanctioning were involved in the abhorrent killing of Jamal Khashoggi.”
A U.S. intelligence report released in March said Prince Mohammed had approved the operation to kill or capture Khashoggi. The Saudi government has denied any involvement by the crown prince and rejected the report’s findings.
WATCH U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on impact of intelligence report’s release:
U.S. intelligence report blames Saudi crown prince for murder of Jamal Khashoggi
A now-unclassified U.S. intelligence report blames Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for approving the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Embassy in Istanbul in 2018. The Biden administration says that’s unacceptable and won’t be tolerated, signalling a shift in the relationship between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. 1:52
No extradition however
France is one of Saudi Arabia’s main arms suppliers, but it has faced pressure to review its sales because of the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels in Yemen, now one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.
Macron last week rejected accusations that he was legitimizing the crown prince, saying the vicinity’s many crises could not be dealt with by ignoring Saudi Arabia.
In this photo released by the Saudi Royal Palace, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, left, greets French President Emmanuel Macron, upon his arrival in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, on Saturday. (Bandar Alkaloud/Saudi Royal Palace via the Associated Press)
The judicial source confirmed Al-Otaibi’s arrest on the basis of a Turkish arrest warrant. Authorities were in the time of action of verifying his identity. It was too soon to say if and when an extradition could take place, the source said.
It was unclear how or when Al-Otaibi arrived in France.
The French Interior Ministry and the Saudi embassy in Paris declined to comment. The Saudi government media office CIC did not closest respond to a request for comment.
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