Sun, Oct 28, 2018 - Page 5 News List

Riyadh rejects Turkey’s call to extradite suspects

‘SAUDI NATIONALS’:The Turkish president said there was more evidence yet to be revealed and urged Riyadh to say what happened to Jamal Khashoggi’s body

AFP, ISTANBUL, Turkey, and MANAMA

Saudi Arabia would prosecute the suspects in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi foreign minister said yesterday in response to a call by Turkey for their extradition.

“On the issue of extradition, the individuals are Saudi nationals. They’re detained in Saudi Arabia and the investigation is in Saudi Arabia, and they will be prosecuted in Saudi Arabia,” Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir said at a regional defense forum in the Bahraini capital, Manama.

Jubeir’s comments came the day after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for the extradition of 18 Saudi nationals authorities say were involved in the murder of Khashoggi, a Saudi government critic killed in his country’s consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.

After denying knowledge of Khashoggi’s whereabouts for nearly three weeks, Riyadh admitted Khashoggi’s murder had been “premeditated,” but denied the involvement of the kingdom’s powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

“We will overcome it,” Jubeir told the forum. “The issue, as I said, is being investigated. We will know the truth. We will hold those responsible accountable. And we will put in place mechanisms to ensure it doesn’t happen again.”

In a speech in Ankara on Friday, Erdogan said Saudi Arabia’s chief prosecutor would visit Istanbul today to speak to Turkish authorities as part of the investigation.

“It is clear that the judicial system in Turkey is better equipped to genuinely serve the cause of justice in this case,” a senior Turkish official said.

Saudi authorities earlier arrested 18 men wanted by Ankara following an international furor over the death of Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributor.

The killing has tainted the image of Prince Mohammed, who has positioned himself as a reformer, and tested ties between Washington and Riyadh as Western powers demand answers over Khashoggi’s death.

Erdogan called on Riyadh to reveal who ordered the killing and the whereabouts of Khashoggi’s body.

“You need to show this body,” Erdogan said.

“The culprit is among them. If that is not the case, then who is the local conspirator? You have to tell,” he said. “Unless you tell, Saudi Arabia will not be free from this suspicion.”

Khashoggi, 59, who had lived in self-imposed exile in the US since last year, was not seen again after entering the consulate to obtain paperwork for his marriage to his Turkish fiancee, Hatice Cengiz.

A tearful Cengiz said in a TV interview on Friday that she never would have let Khashoggi enter the consulate if she had thought that “Saudi Arabian authorities would hatch a plot” to kill him.

“I demand that all those involved in this savagery from the highest to the lowest levels are punished and brought to justice,” Cengiz told the Haberturk TV station.

She said she had not been contacted by Saudi officials and that she was unlikely to go to Saudi Arabia for a possible funeral if Khashoggi’s missing body is found.

Erdogan said that more evidence was yet to be revealed.

“It is not that we don’t have any other information or documents. We do. Tomorrow is another day,” he said.

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