Saudi man linked to Jamal Khashoggi's murder arrested in Paris

11:55 PM | 7 Dec, 2021
Saudi man linked to Jamal Khashoggi's murder arrested in Paris

French police have arrested a Saudi man suspected of involvement in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Khaled Aedh Alotaibi was arrested at Charles-de-Gaulle airport on Tuesday. He was detained before his flight at 9:30 a.m. local time, a spokesperson for the French National Police said. The 33-year-old former Saudi royal guard was travelling under his own name and was placed in judicial detention, RTL radio said. He is one of 26 Saudis wanted by Turkey over the journalist's killing.

Khashoggi, a prominent critic of the government in Riyadh, was murdered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018.

Saudi Arabia said the former Washington Post journalist had been killed in a "rogue operation" by a team of agents sent to persuade him to return to the kingdom.

But Turkish officials said the agents acted on orders from the highest levels of the Saudi government.

The murder caused a global uproar and damaged the image of Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. He has denied any role.

A Saudi court convicted eight unnamed people over the murder in 2019. Five of them were found guilty of directly participating in the killing and handed death sentences that were later commuted to 20-year prison terms, while three others were jailed for seven to 10 years for covering up the crime.

The Saudi trial was dismissed as "the antithesis of justice" by then-UN Special Rapporteur Agnès Callamard, who concluded that Khashoggi was "the victim of a deliberate, premeditated execution".

A 2019 report by Ms Callamard said Saudi prosecutors ordered the arrest of Mr Alotaibi as part of an investigation into Khashoggi's murder but ultimately decided not to charge him.

However, Mr Alotaibi is the subject of a Turkish arrest warrant and is being tried in absentia in Istanbul on a murder charge.